Darling’s wins 10-year legal dispute with Ford; damages could reach millions
In a unanimous decision, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently made an important ruling under the Maine’s Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act. On behalf of our client, the Maine Auto Dealers Association (“MADA”), Preti Flaherty was successful in getting the Law Court to enforce the Dealer Act in a manner that respects dealers’ rights and increases the damages that a dealer may recover from an auto manufacturer, in this case the Ford Motor Company, when the auto manufacturer does not follow through on its requirements.
As Preti Flaherty's Bruce Gerrity told Judy Harrison, reporting for the Bangor Daily News, the court's decision is not only good for Maine's dealers, but it "puts manufacturers on notice that Maine’s supreme court would strictly interpret the statute that governs the relationship between dealers and manufacturers."
Damages of nearly $155,000 were awarded in 2014, but that only covered payments from Ford to Darling’s for a 270-day period. The justices unanimously ruled Tuesday that damages should date from April 1, 2005, through the present. That could result in a damage award to Darling’s Ford in the millions.