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GARVIN v. AMERICAN MOTORS SALES CORP.

March 15, 1962

David H. GARVIN, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN MOTORS SALES CORPORATION, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

This is an action under the Automobile Dealers Franchise Act to recover damages for an alleged lack of good faith in not renewing an automobile dealership franchise agreement at the time of its expiration, 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1221-1225.

Upon jury trial, verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $ 20,000.00 as damages and loss of net profits based on the franchise not being renewed from March 2, 1959 through March 2, 1960, and by separate verdict awarded no damages from March 2, 1960.

 The matters before the Court are:

 1. Motion of defendant for judgment notwithstanding the verdict for the following reasons:

 a. The Automobile Dealers Franchise Act is unconstitutional.

 b. The evidence failed to establish a violation of the Automobile Dealers Franchise Act.

 2. Motion of defendant for new trial.

 a. The Court erred in permitting the introduction of the United States Mortality Tables and by instructing the jury concerning their use.

 b. The Court erred in refusing to instruct the jury as requested by defendant as follows:

 (1) It is not coercion or intimidation for the defendant to insist that the plaintiff carry out the terms of the franchise agreement and of any promises that the plaintiff made to the defendant prior to or at the time of receiving a new franchise in March, 1958. (Defendant's Point No. 6.)

 (2) It is not coercion or intimidation for the defendant to tell plaintiff that if the plaintiff failed to live up to the promises he made at the time the franchise was last granted to him, the defendant would have to consider not renewing the franchise when it expired. (Defendant's Point No. 7.)

 (3) Insistence by a manufacturer that a dealer carry out the terms of his franchise contract is not coercion since the manufacturer has a legal right to expect compliance with the contract. (Defendant's Point No. 9.)

 (4) It is not coercion or intimidation for a manufacturer to fail to renew an inefficient or undesirable dealer's franchise. (Defendant's Point No. 11.)

 (5) It is not coercion or intimidation for a manufacturer to fail to renew a dealer's franchise if the dealer is failing to provide adequate representation and a suitable outlet for the manufacturer's products in the area the dealer is expected to serve. (Defendant's Point No. 12.)

 (6) In granting a franchise it is not coercion or intimidation for a manufacturer to insist that the dealer maintain adequate capital in his business to enable the dealer to carry an adequate inventory of new cars and to handle the financing and disposition of used cars. (Defendant's Point No. 21.)

 (7) If you can find that the defendant is liable to the plaintiff, you can award damages to the plaintiff only on the basis of evidence that is accurate and definite. (Defendant's Point No. 24.)

 (8) In computing damages on the basis of net profits that the plaintiff would have made had his franchise been renewed for an additional year, you must deduct from such calculation the amount of any earnings that the plaintiff had during that year from other employment or business or any earnings he reasonably would have had if he had diligently sought or undertaken other employment for which he was suited. (Defendant's Point No. 27.)

 (9) When the defendant granted the plaintiff a new franchise in March, 1958, the defendant was entitled to specify the terms and conditions under which the franchise would be granted and those terms and conditions could properly include requirements that the plaintiff improve his facilities in size and attractiveness, maintain working capital and credit regarded as adequate by the defendant, hire a ...


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