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12/22/94 FIELDS JEEP-EAGLE v. CHRYSLER CORPORATION

December 22, 1994

FIELDS JEEP-EAGLE, INC., ET AL. (GROSSINGER MOTORS ET AL., APPELLANTS),
v.
CHRYSLER CORPORATION ET AL., APPELLEES.



The Honorable Justice McMORROW delivered the opinion of the court: Justice Harrison, dissenting:

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcmorrow

JUSTICE McMORROW delivered the opinion of the court:

In these consolidated direct appeals (134 Ill. 2d R. 302), we are presented with the question of the constitutionality of sections 4(e)(8) and 12(c) of the Motor Vehicle Franchise Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 121 1/2, pars. 754(e)(8), 762(c) (now codified as 815 ILCS 710/4(e)(8), 12(c) (West 1992))). The two judges before whom these now consolidated cases were heard each declared those sections unconstitutional on the bases that they violate the constitutional principles of separation of powers and due process.

STATUTORY SCHEME

In section 1.1 of the Act, the legislature finds and declares that:

"the distribution and sale of vehicles within this State vitally affects the general economy of the State and the public interest and welfare, and that in order to promote the public interest and welfare, and in the exercise of its police power, it is necessary to regulate motor vehicle manufacturers * * * and * * * dealers of motor vehicles doing business in this State in order to prevent frauds, impositions and other abuses upon its citizens, to protect and preserve the investments and properties of the citizens of this State, and to provide adequate and sufficient service to consumers generally." 815 ILCS 710/1.1 (West 1992).

The opening paragraph of section 4 of the Act declares various acts and practices enumerated in that section to be unfair methods of competition and unlawful. (815 ILCS 710/4(a) (West 1992).) The prohibition at issue in this appeal is contained in section 4(e)(8), which states that it is a violation of the Act for a motor vehicle manufacturer:

"to grant an additional franchise in the relevant market area of an existing motor vehicle franchise of the same line make or to relocate an existing motor vehicle dealership within or into the relevant market area of an existing franchise of the same line make. However, if the manufacturer wishes to grant such an additional franchise * * * or * * * to relocate an existing motor vehicle dealership, then the manufacturer shall give notice in writing to the existing dealer or dealers of the same line make whose relevant market area includes the proposed location of the additional or relocated franchise, at least 60 days prior to the grant or establishment of the additional or relocated franchise. Unless the parties agree upon the grant or establishment of such additional or relocated franchise, the propriety of the granting of such additional franchise shall be determined pursuant to the guidelines of Section 12, with the franchiser having the burden of proof. * * * Thereafter, the manufacturer may not establish the additional dealership * * *, unless the arbitrators or court have determined that there is good cause for permitting the establishment." 815 ILCS 710/4(e)(8) (West 1992).

We note that section 12 sets forth the same guidelines to be considered by the courts in their determination of what constitutes "good cause" for either the granting of a new franchise or for the relocation of an existing franchise. Section 12(c) provides that in determining whether good cause has been established for establishing or relocating an motor vehicle dealership "the arbitrators or court shall consider all pertinent circumstances which may include but are not limited to" 11 enumerated "good cause" factors, including whether the proposed dealership establishment or relocation would be in the public interest and welfare. 815 ILCS 710/12(c) (West 1992).

THE PARTIES

Docket No. 74151

Fields Jeep-Eagle (Fields) is a Chrysler franchisee located in Glenview, Illinois. In July 1991, Chrysler wrote to Fields advising it that Des Plaines Chrysler-Plymouth Sales, Inc. (Des Plaines), had purchased Town & Country Jeep-Eagle (Town & Country) and would be relocating Town & Country to the Des Plaines facility. Fields objected to the proposed relocation and filed a complaint in the circuit court of Cook County, invoking the Act, to enjoin Chrysler from establishing or relocating Town & Country into Fields' relevant market area. Des Plaines was granted leave to intervene as a defendant. Des Plaines moved to dismiss Fields' complaint on the grounds that the Act was unconstitutional and preempted by Federal antitrust laws. Des Plaines also served the Attorney General with a "notice of claim of unconstitutionality" in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 19 (134 Ill. 2d R. 19). Thereafter, the Secretary of State (the Secretary), through the Attorney General, filed a motion to intervene to defend the constitutionality of the Act. After consideration of the memoranda and arguments in support of the parties' positions, circuit court Judge John Hourihane granted Des Plaines' motion to dismiss, ruling that the Act was unconstitutional as violating the principles of separation of powers and due process. Fields filed a notice of appeal to the appellate court, and the Secretary filed a direct appeal to this court (docketed as No. 74151). Fields' appeal was transferred to this court (docketed as No. 75154), and later consolidated with the Secretary's appeal. Fields and Des Plaines subsequently settled their dispute, and Fields' motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal with prejudice was granted. The Secretary and Chrysler remain as parties in appeal No. 74151.

Docket Nos. 75293, 75323, 75358

Grossinger Motorcorp, Inc. (Grossinger), is a Pontiac dealer in Lincolnwood, Illinois. In May 1992, General Motors Corporation (GM) wrote to inform Grossinger of its intent to appoint a new Pontiac dealership, Loren Pontiac, Inc. (Loren), in Glenview from an "open point" in Winnetka. Grossinger, Ridge Motors, Inc. (Ridge), and Highland Park Motors, Inc., objected to the proposed dealership on the ground that it would be in the same relevant market area as their dealerships, and filed separate suits against GM under the Act. These suits were later consolidated. In September 1992, GM advised the plaintiffs that it was withdrawing its notice of appointment of Loren as a new dealership in Glenview, and that Loren would, instead, commence operations in the Winnetka location. As a result, the parties entered into a settlement agreement pursuant to which the consolidated actions were dismissed with prejudice on October 23, 1992.

Approximately one week later, GM sent a notice of relocation, informing the original plaintiffs of its intent to permit Loren to relocate from Winnetka to the Glenview location. Grossinger and Ridge filed motions to enforce the settlement agreement, and Ridge also filed a motion to vacate the October dismissal and reinstate the case. GM responded that the settlement agreement related only to the appointment of Loren as a new Pontiac dealership but did not preclude any future proposal to move Loren or another Pontiac franchise to Glenview. Thereafter Grossinger and Ridge and Highland Park filed separate complaints against GM under the Act. Loren was granted leave to intervene in the Grossinger and Ridge suits, and the three actions were then consolidated. Loren and GM each served upon the Attorney General a "notice of claim of unconstitutionality," following ...


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