The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rejects the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association’s (MSADA) bid to prohibit direct sales of Tesla motor vehicles to consumers
In a decision of national reach and significance, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rejected the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association’s (“MSADA”) bid to prohibit direct sales of Tesla motor vehicles to consumers and thereby protected market choice for Massachusetts’ consumers. In its September 15, 2014 ruling, the Court examined the language, history, and purposes of the statute invoked by the MSADA as a weapon against unaffiliated motor vehicle manufacturers like Tesla. The Court held that “the purpose of c. 93B historically [as protecting] motor vehicle dealers from a host of unfair acts and practices historically directed at them by their own brand manufacturers and distributors.” The Court questioned whether Tesla’s business model involves the operation of a “motor vehicle dealership” within the meaning of c. 93B, § 4 (c) (10), and therefore whether, by its literal terms, the proscription of § 4 (c) (10) applies to the defendants at all. The Supreme Judicial Court’s decision is both definitive and conclusive:
“With a proper understanding of the language, history, and purpose of the statute in mind, we hold that G. L. c. 93B, § 15, does not confer standing on a motor vehicle dealer to maintain an action for violation of G. L. c. 93B, § 4 (c) 24 (10), against a manufacturer with which the dealer is not affiliated. We therefore affirm the Superior Court’s judgment dismissing the plaintiffs’ action for lack of standing.”
Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy served as lead counsel for Tesla Motors MA, Inc. and Tesla Motors, Inc.