Ontario Judge Rules in Favor of Allowing Rejected Dealers to Continue Lawsuits
TORONTO, Ontario — Thanks to a decision last week by a judge in Ontario Superior Court of Justice, a group of dealers rejected as part of General Motors of Canada's wind-down process can continue its lawsuit against the company and won't be forced into individual arbitration cases.
As most know, 240 of GM Canada's 700 dealers received non-renewal notices last year after parent General Motors Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as explained in court papers. Though GM Canada did not file bankruptcy, it did put in place plans to trim its dealer network, as did its American counterpart.
According to court documents, these plans were accepted by roughly 85 percent of GM Canada's rejected dealers. However, 38 dealers refused, 19 of which took part in this lawsuit against GM Canada that was filed in November.
GM Canada, meanwhile, basically was trying to disjoint the 19 dealers and have each go through individual arbitration via the National Automobile Dealer Arbitration Program.
Specifically, court documents explain that GM Canada moved "to stay the claims of 16 of the 19 plaintiffs on the basis that they agreed to arbitrate their disputes under the National Automotive Dealer Arbitration Program. If they are not required to arbitrate their disputes under NADAP, GMCL states that the claims of all of the plaintiffs have been improperly joined and should be severed and heard individually."
But ultimately, Superior Court Judge Sarah Pepall ruled in the dealers' favor.
"In summary, the plaintiffs' claims are not arbitrable, are properly joined and should not be severed," Pepall wrote in her conclusion. "As such, GMCL's main motion is dismissed."
A spokesperson for GM Canada said the company would have no comment because it is a matter before the courts.