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Published on .

(April 2, 2001) -- True North Communications revealed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that FCB Worldwide last month settled a multimillion-dollar suit with former client Mazda North American Operations.

In late 1997, Mazda filed a claim with the American Arbitration Association in Los Angeles seeking $9 million in damages from FCB for liabilities stemming from the agency's auto lease ads that aired in 1996 and 1997. The agency, which resigned the account in 1997, filed a counterclaim for $5.5 million for unpaid commissions.

Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed, but True North said in the SEC documents the agreement with Mazda didn't have a material impact on its finances.

In 1997, the Federal Trade Commission cited Mazda and several other automakers for misleading lease ads. Mazda eventually paid a $5.25 million fine, the highest ever to the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau, for lease ads that ran in 1997 and early 1998. -- Jean Halliday

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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