NEWS DETAIL

Dealers win challenge in Chrysler suit

Monday, March 19, 2012 | Amy Wilson, Automotive News

Two rejected Chrysler dealerships that won their arbitration cases in 2010 are closer to a trial date in their lawsuit against the automaker.

In a March 9 ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Wexler denied a Chrysler motion seeking dismissal of the dealerships' complaint. He told the parties to file their pretrial orders.

Leonard Bellavia, lawyer for the dealerships, said the ruling means the trial should be in 60 to 90 days.

Bellavia declined further comment, other than to say he hopes his clients and Chrysler "can come together and work out an amicable solution." He wouldn't say whether there are active settlement discussions.

The dealerships -- Eagle Auto Mall Corp. of Riverhead, N.Y., owned by Mark Calisi; and Terry Chrysler-Jeep of Burnt Hills, N.Y., owned by Charlie Morris -- sued Chrysler in August 2010, alleging that they received "unreasonable and unconscionable" letters of intent to enter into a franchise agreement after their arbitration victories.

The dealerships, which closed in 2009 as part of Chrysler's bankruptcy restructuring, sought reinstatement, compensation for lost income and punitive damages.

Two other dealerships -- Crossroads Superstore of Atoka, Okla., and Westminster Dodge of Dorchester, Mass. -- were part of the original lawsuit but have since settled with Chrysler. Both Chrysler and Bellavia declined to comment on settlement terms. The dealerships did not reopen.
Chrysler's motion seeking the lawsuit's dismissal followed a December court ruling in the company's favor.

In December, the court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to confirm arbitration awards. The court also said the plaintiffs were entitled only to a letter of intent under terms that were "usual and customary" at the time of the offer and not those governing prebankruptcy dealership agreements.

Whether the plaintiffs received such an offer "remained an open question," the court said. The plaintiffs say the letters were not customary and put onerous conditions on them, such as having to complete a facility renovation prior to reopening.

Chrysler Group spokesman Mike Palese said the December ruling rejected the dealerships' primary argument that they were entitled to automatic entry into the post-bankruptcy Chrysler's dealer network.

"As we have contended since the beginning of this process, Chrysler Group complied fully with the letter and intent of the law by issuing its customary and usual [letter of intent] to prevailing dealers, which was the only remedy available under the federal dealer arbitration law," Palese wrote in an e-mail.

"Chrysler Group will continue to defend this position vigorously and is confident in our position."

BACK

US COURT OF APPEALS ALLOWS CHRYSLER CASE TO MOVE FORWARD


LEONARD BELLAVIA FEATURED ON COVER OF PREMIERE ISSUE OF ATTORNEY AT LAW MAGAZINE.


Monthly Dealer Representation Program
This is the most acclaimed program in the industry for franchised dealers who would like one of the most experienced dealership law firms in the country to be their “in-house” counsel on a daily basis. For a low monthly fee of $300, dealership employees have unlimited access to BBAC attorneys on all dealership issues.
LEARN MORE
Learn More

Find out the five (5) reasons why doing this in-house will cost you far more than retaining the law firm with a national reputation in warranty parts reimbursement.

CALL US: 516-873-3000!

LEARN MORE
REPRESENTATIVE CASES
Dealer Gets Court Order Preventing Bank From Terminating Floor Plan
A floor plan lending institution threatened to terminate its floor plan relationship with an automobile dealership client. The basis upon...
MORE
BB&C IN THE NEWS
Automotive News
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
New GM disclosure form riles dealers
General Motors dealers could face major penalties, even termination, if they fail to use a new... MORE
Automotive News
Monday, October 13, 2014
Factories, dealers clash over canceled store sales
When Mercedes-Benz scuttled Jona-than Sobel's $30 million deal to buy a New Jersey dealership last... MORE
Press Release
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Judge Allows Dealers' Antitrust Lawsuit Against CARFAX to Proceed
Mineola, N.Y., October 1, 2014-In a decision issued this week, the Federal Court denied a... MORE
Regional Auto Dealers
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Leonard Bellavia to Speak at the New Jersey Regional Auto Dealers Seminar
Leonard A. Bellavia will be a speaker at the New Jersey Regional Auto Dealers Seminar on October 16... MORE
Bellavia Blatt
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Bellavia Blatt's Chrysler Dealer Termination Lawsuit Against U.S. Government Grows
MINEOLA, NY, September 17, 2014-In an amended complaint filed this week, 20 additional terminated... MORE
Bellavia Blatt
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Bellavia Blatt's Dealer Mass Action Lawsuit Against CARFAX up to over 700 Plaintiffs
MINEOLA, NY, September 3, 2014-Bellavia Blatt Andron & Crossett, P.C. now represents over 700... MORE
Bellavia Blatt & Crossett, PC has offices in Long Island, Manhattan, Albany and New Jersey    |     Contact Us
BGA - DealerLaw on Facebook BGA - DealerLaw on Twitter BGA - DealerLaw on Linked-In