Massachusetts dealers appeal Tesla ruling
Citing 10-year-old amendments to the state's franchise law, Massachusetts dealers are appealing a court's dismissal of their lawsuit against electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc.
The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and other dealership plaintiffs trying to block Tesla's factory-owned stores filed an appeal Jan. 22.
Their original lawsuit, filed in October, was dismissed on Dec. 31 by Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman. Fishman said the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.
Robert O'Koniewski, executive vice president of the dealers association, wrote in an e-mail that dealers are seeking an appeal because Tesla's store model is clearly prohibited by Massachusetts' dealer franchise statute.
Amendments made to that statute in 2002 should give dealers and the dealers association the right to sue to prevent manufacturer-owned stores, he said.
"Tesla is spending considerable sums of money across the country in an effort to exploit what they see to be gaps in states' franchise laws," O'Koniewski wrote in the e-mail, adding that Tesla's money would be better spent complying with franchise laws. "The law is the law. Follow it."
Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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