Lawyers urge Supreme Court to take its time on Chrysler

An Indiana pension fund suing to prevent Chrysler's government-backed sale to Italian automaker Fiat urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to take all the time it needs to ponder the case.

Lawyers for the pensioners, who argue the restructuring plan previously organized by the Obama administration shortchanges their interests, pounced on a statement issued by Fiat's CEO in reaction to the court's stay in Chrysler's sale.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told Bloomberg News yesterday that the automaker would "never" walk away from the deal with Chrysler, despite having the option to abandon the deal by June 15th if a sale has not been finalized by that point.

"The Debtors (and the United States) have advanced the position throughout this case ... that the section 363 Sale at issue here had to close before June 15 or Fiat would exercise its right to withdraw and the entire transaction would collapse," lawyers for the Indiana fund wrote in a brief filed Tuesday. "The courts below relied on such arguments and testimony in moving this case forward at an unprecedented pace."

"The Indiana Pensioners respectfully submit that the risk of termination by Fiat if the transaction does not close by June 15 no longer provides a basis for driving the timing of these proceedings," the memo added, which was principally offered by Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher.

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