WASHINGTON (July 6, 2010) — A terminated Florida car dealership became the second in the country to sue Chrysler Group L.L.C. after winning its arbitration against the car maker but finding the conditions for reinstatement objectionable.
Deland Dodge of Deland, Fla., asked a state court to confirm the arbitration order that the dealership be added to the auto maker's network.
Chrysler “has failed and refused to add Deland to the roster,” the dealership alleged in a suit filed July 1 in Deland, north of Orlando.
Chrysler declined to comment on the matter.
In the first suit of its kind, Century Motor Corp. of Wentzville, Mo., sued Chrysler in June on grounds that the letter of intent it received set conditions that dealers who survived the company's bankruptcy didn't have to meet.
Deland's suit didn't mention the letter of intent it received after becoming the first dealership to prevail in arbitration with Chrysler in May.
But Deland's lawyer, Mark Ornstein of Orlando, said that the suit was filed because Chrysler's letter of intent was “unacceptable, not fair, not in good faith, and not what Congress intended.”
“If we got a letter of intent that was sincere, we would have worked with Chrysler,” he said in a phone interview.
Mr. Ornstein cited as an example a condition that lets Chrysler withdraw its letter of intent to Deland if a nearby dealer protests the reinstatement for 30 days.
“Why wouldn't the other dealer object?” the lawyer said. “At that moment, you have nothing.”
Under Florida law, a state judge can enforce an arbitration order, Mr. Ornstein said.
Deland co-owner Gib Dannehower, 53, added: “Reinstated dealers should be able to put their signs up and immediately start selling cars, just like other Chrysler dealers.”
The federal arbitration law enacted in December gives Chrysler and General Motors Co. seven days after a dealer prevails in arbitration to issue “a customary and usual letter of intent to enter into a sales and service agreement.”
This report appeared in Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.