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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Chrysler Dealers ‘Behaved Like Weasels,’ Court Rules

CHICAGO (CN) - "Plaintiffs have behaved like a pack of weasels and can't expect any part of their tale be believed," the 7th Circuit's Judge Easterbrook wrote of two Chrysler dealerships that sued DaimlerChrysler for racial discrimination after the company exercised a contract provision requiring them to pay up front for their inventory.

Ridge Chrysler Jeep and Dodge of Midlothian claimed that Chrysler's move effectively ended their franchises without adequate cause. Chrysler then agreed to furnish whatever inventory the dealerships could resell if the plaintiffs secured loans. Gerald Gorman, the CEO of both dealerships, lied to the district judge and said he had secured $925,000, when the actual amount was no more than $750,000.

Chrysler asked for their electronic business records, but the dealerships stalled until the computer containing the records was repossessed and destroyed when the dealerships closed in 2003.

The appeals court dismissed plaintiffs' discrimination claim as a sanction for abusing the system.

"One who misuses litigation to obtain money to which he is not entitled is hardly in a position to insist that the court now proceed to address his legitimate claims, if there are any," Easterbrook wrote.

"Plaintiffs insist that the claims of racial discrimination are legitimate, but that is dubious."

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