DaimlerChrysler violated a provision of New Jersey's franchise law when it discontinued its Plymouth line in September 2001, a federal judge in New Jersey has ruled.
As a result, U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano in Newark, N.J., ordered a trial to determine the amount of compensation due to five former Plymouth dealerships in the state. They seek to collect the fair market value of their Plymouth franchises.
At the same time, Pisano cleared DaimlerChrysler of allegations that it violated a second section of the franchise law and the federal Automobile Dealer's Day in Court Act.
The judge found no basis for claims of breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment. That part of the decision, though, makes no difference in the amount of damages to which the dealerships are entitled, says their lawyer, Eric Chase of Florham Park, N.J.
DaimlerChrysler has asked Pisano to reconsider the ruling, and company spokeswoman Elaine Lutz says: "Since all of them were Chrysler dealers, we don't believe there were any damages suffered."