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Ohio Car Dealers Sue To Block Tesla From Selling Cars In The State


Tesla Store Los Angeles [photo: Misha Bruk / MBH Architects]

Tesla Store Los Angeles [photo: Misha Bruk / MBH Architects]

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Ohio isn't just a battleground state in presidential elections.

Electric-car maker Tesla has been at odds with the state's car dealers over its company-owned stores, and the battle doesn't seem to be stopping.

The California company won the last round, when a proposed amendment to an unrelated bill was dropped; the amendment would have barred Tesla from selling cars except through independently-owned franchised dealers.

Now, a group of Ohio car dealers have sued to block Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] from selling cars, according to a report in The Columbus Dispatch (via Transport Evolved).

The lawsuit--filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court last week--calls for Ohio to revoke Tesla's license to sell cars, claiming the automaker hasn't met all of the necessary legal requirements when it was first issued.

In the suit, the dealers claim that Tesla hasn't provided a copy of its contract with the manufacturer of the vehicles that it is selling.

Although the manufacturer and the seller are under the same entity, the Ohio dealer groups say Tesla still needs to provide this form of documentation.

2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

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The dealers claim that Tesla can't provide proper documentation, in fact, because Ohio law requires the contract to be between two separate parties.

Tesla's vice president of regulatory affairs and associate general counsel, James Chen, told the Dispatch that the Ohio dealers' argument twists the intent of the law and is based almost entirely on procedural issues.

The lawsuit comes shortly after legislation to ban Tesla from selling cars in Ohio was struck down.

An amendment to Ohio Senate Bill 137--an unrelated bill that would require Ohio drivers to move to left while passing roadside maintenance vehicles--would have made it illegal for manufacturers to be licensed as motor-vehicle dealers in the state.

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