BREAKING: Tesla Beats Massachusetts State auto Dealers Association in Unanimous SJC Ruling

Large auto dealer chains and powerful auto dealer associations have no legal standing to block Tesla Motors from selling its luxury electric cars directly to customers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Tesla stores in Massachusetts are legal, says the state's highest court.

Tesla stores in Massachusetts are legal, says the state’s highest court.

That’s the unanimous verdict of the state’s highest court, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled that a claim made by auto dealers trying to ban Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] from selling direct to customers within the state had “no legal standing.”

The plaintiffs — including Herb Connolly Chevrolet, Fisker Norwood and a massive trade association of various well-known Massachusetts car dealerships — had tried to invoke a Massachusetts law known as Chapter 93B designed to prohibit automakers from evading state law and operate a dealership without the correct licenses.

But as Justice Barbara Lenk wrote on behalf of the court in the unanimous decision, the law could not be invoked because the plaintiffs were not Tesla Franchisees and thus could not use Chapter 93B against Tesla.

State auto dealer associations wanted Tesla to be banned from selling in Ma.

State auto dealer associations wanted Tesla to be banned from selling in Ma.

“Chapter 93B is aimed primarily at protecting motor vehicle dealers from injury caused by the unfair business practices of manufacturers and distributors with which they are associated, generally in a franchise relationship,” Lenk said in her judgement. “We therefore affirm the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing the plaintiffs’ action on the basis of lack of standing.’’

Since the case was first submitted to the courts, Tesla has obtained a dealer licence from officials in Natick. Today’s ruling will ensure it can continue to sell cars direct to customers within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will no doubt serve as a boost to Tesla fans in other states where similar litigation is being filed against the plug-in automaker.

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  • Michael Thwaite

    So, you can’t attack Tesla if you’re not a Tesla Dealer… Could be a president being set in MA. Let’s watch.

    • JohnCBriggs

      It makes sense. The plaintiffs were not injured by Tesla.

    • drivin98

      The precedent would only apply if another state’s law was crafted with similar language. The MA decision could be used in legal argument, no doubt, in other territories, but one would need a federal decision to use in a more sweeping manner.

  • WeaponZero

    lol, so far the dealers have lost every single time they took this to court. The problem the dealers face is regardless what language they bribe in, the laws intentions were to prevent franchisors to compete with franchisees. Tesla does not franchise making their case void.nnnWill they ever learn?

  • Timothy Miley

    The car dealers only have one reason to block Tesla and that is their own self interest of profits!!!

  • heltonja

    The battles that Tesla is being forced to wage in Deep blue states such as Massachusetts, NY, and New Jersey as well as red states like Georgia and Texas etc., illustrate that this has nothing to do with ideology or even electric cars. The same dealers trying to either get a piece of the action or prevent their own dealers from getting any bright ideas, would be doing the same thing thing if tesla cars ran on coal.

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