New Hampshire dealers celebrate decision to protect basic rights.
A Merrimack County judge has rejected a request for a permanent injunction to prevent the Dealer Bill of Rights law from taking effect. The amendment to the existing law, passed overwhelmingly by state lawmakers and signed by Governor Maggie Hassan, now has the force of a judicial review behind it.
John Deere and other equipment manufacturers filed a lawsuit last year, hoping to block key provisions of the law pertaining to farm equipment dealers in New Hampshire. The judge listened to both sides and ruled against striking down the law.
“The court was swayed by the testimony of farmers and equipment dealers showing that the manufacturers’ actions have hurt consumers & producers,” explains Pete McNamara, president of the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Assn. “This is a win for consumers and small businesses. John Deere's constant strategy of intimidation failed to sway the courts just like it failed in the house and senate which almost unanimously endorsed the dealer bill of rights law.”
The amended law offers a number of common sense protections for local business owners, such as limits on mandatory upgrades to facilities, a buy local provision to save on expenses, and proper reimbursement for warranty work done by dealers. The law extends these provisions to construction and farm equipment dealers.
“The national manufacturers have had their day in court, just as they had their time in front of the general court in Concord,” says McNamara. “The debate is over.”