Mass. dealers lose fight to block Tesla stores
Winning a court appeal or intervention by the attorney general may be the last hopes for Massachusetts dealers trying to block Tesla Motors Inc.'s retail stores.
In a ruling last week, Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman dismissed a lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker by the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and several dealers. The judge said the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.
Robert O'Koniewski, the association's executive vice president, disagreed, contending dealers have standing under changes made to state franchise law in 2002. "If you read the statute, it's pretty clear: A factory cannot own a store, and a dealer can sue for injunctive relief if they feel the public is being harmed."
Tesla didn't immediately comment.
Tesla's first Massachusetts location opened in September in the Natick Mall in a Boston suburb. The dealers filed suit in October, contending Tesla violated state licensing, consumer protection and franchise laws.
O'Koniewski said the association is considering options, including an appeal. The dealer association also has had discussions with the state attorney general, whose office has enforcement power over state franchise law.
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