A long-standing legal battle between a former California Nissan dealer and Nissan North America Inc. is heading to trial in state court in Stockton, Calif.
The franchise holder, Gary Hamner, contends Nissan violated California law when it required his Nissan of Stockton dealership to move closer to competing Honda and Toyota stores as a condition for him to have his franchise transferred. He filed the suit on Jan. 30, 2006.
"Nissan's actions cost Mr. Hamner and his companies millions of dollars," Hamner's attorney, Michael M. Sieving, said in a statement. "Buyers who were interested in buying the dealership refused to agree to Nissan's added conditions. California law specifically protects owners of auto franchises against unreasonable demands such as those imposed by Nissan."
Nissan of Stockton began selling and servicing Nissan vehicles July 1, 1999, on a two-year franchise agreement with Nissan North America, according to the lawsuit.
In a statement, Nissan said it will fight Hamner's case, saying Hamner sold both the dealership and the property for a "considerable profit."
Nissan filed a motion seeking a dismissal of the case. The judge on the case rescheduled the trial date from this month to June 2008, Nissan said.