Section 8-21B-8

Change in management personnel; damaging actions; additional dealership agreements; recovery of damages.

(a) No supplier shall require or prohibit any change in management personnel of any dealer unless the current or proposed management or personnel fails to meet reasonable qualifications and standards required by the supplier for its dealers.

(b) No supplier shall engage in any action with respect to a dealer which is arbitrary, in bad faith, or unconscionable and which causes damage to the dealer.

(c) No supplier, without notice to existing dealers, shall enter into a dealer agreement with another dealer who intends to conduct its dealership operations from a place of business within the relevant market area of an existing dealer or dealers representing the same line of heavy equipment. The appointment of a successor dealer at the same location as its predecessor or within a two-mile radius therefrom within two years from the date on which its predecessor ceased operations or was terminated, whichever occurred later, shall not be construed as the entering into of an additional dealer agreement. Any supplier which intends to enter into a dealer agreement with another dealer in the relevant market area, at least 60 days prior to entering into such dealer agreement, shall give written notice of its intention to do so to each dealer of the same line make within the relevant market area. The notice shall state the date on or after which such proposed dealer agreement shall be entered into. Prior to the date set forth in the notice on or after which such dealer agreement will be entered into, any dealer in the relevant market area may file a civil action to determine whether the additional dealer agreement is unreasonable in which action the supplier shall have the burden of proof that the action is not unreasonable. No bond shall be required as a precondition to entry of an injunction enjoining the entering into of the additional dealer agreement. In determining whether an additional dealer agreement is unreasonable, the court shall consider all pertinent circumstances, including the following:

(1) Whether the establishment of another dealer is warranted by economic and marketing conditions including anticipated future changes.

(2) The past, present, and anticipated retail sales and service business transacted by the objecting dealer or dealers and other dealers of the same line make with a place of business in the relevant market area.

(3) The investment made and obligations incurred by the objecting dealer or dealers and other dealers of the same line make with a place of business in the relevant market area.

(d) No supplier shall require a dealer to prospectively assent to a release, assignment, novation, waiver, or estoppel which would relieve any person from any liability or obligation under this chapter, which would limit the entitlement to recover damages under this chapter or other Alabama law, or which would waive the right to trial by jury. Any provision or agreement purporting to do so is void and unenforceable to the extent of the waiver or release. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit or prohibit good faith settlements of disputes voluntarily entered into between the parties.

(e) No supplier shall willfully discriminate, either directly or indirectly, in price, programs, or terms of sale offered to dealers in this state when the effect of such discrimination may be to substantially lessen competition or to give one dealer who has a dealer agreement with the supplier any economic, business, or competitive advantage not offered to other dealers who have dealer agreements with such supplier.

(Act 2009-755, p. 2279, §8.)