SACRAMENTO, Calif.–LAWFUEL – The US Legal Newswire – A Sacramento-area auto dealer is taking on global giant Nissan, alleging that Nissan is systematically violating California law when it forces its local auto dealers to relocate near Honda and Toyota competitors before selling their dealerships.
On Monday, Gary A. Hamner will get his day in Superior Court in Stockton after a nearly decade-long battle with Nissan.
Hamner, who owned a Nissan dealership in a Stockton auto mall, claims that Nissan cost him millions of dollars by imposing unreasonable requirements before he could sell his dealership, according to a lawsuit filed in Stockton. The case is Western Automotive Group Inc. and Sherwen’s Investments v. Nissan North America Inc. and is scheduled for trial on Monday, Nov. 26.
Ironically, before Mr. Hamner was told that a new buyer would have to move the dealership, Nissan had required him to purchase the land he was leasing for his auto dealership. If he didn’t purchase the land, Nissan told him he would lose his franchise.
After he bought the land and notified Nissan that he planned to sell the dealership, Nissan then told him any buyer would have to agree to move the dealership so that it was located near Honda and Toyota dealerships in Stockton, the lawsuit says.
“Nissan’s actions cost Mr. Hamner and his companies millions of dollars,” said his attorney, Michael M. Sieving of Sacramento. “He purchased the land where his dealership was located only to be told by Nissan that, if he sold the dealership, it had to move.
“Buyers who were interested in buying the dealership refused to agree to Nissan’s added conditions,” Mr. Sieving said. “California law specifically protects owners of auto franchises against unreasonable demands such as those imposed by Nissan.”
Mr. Sieving, who specializes in representing auto dealers, said Nissan has made it a practice to withhold its approval on dealership sales if the buyers didn’t agree to move the dealership to be near Honda and Toyota dealerships.
Mr. Hamner ultimately sold the Nissan dealership and the property in 2005 – with both selling for far less than they would have if not for the restrictions imposed by Nissan.
“Unfortunately, Nissan imposed unreasonable requirement on Mr. Hamner,” Mr. Sieving said. “We are investigating other situations where Nissan similarly imposed unreasonable requirements that appear to violate California law.”
For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Michael M. Sieving at 916-649-3500 or visit www.sievinglaw.com.