Won Ninth Circuit affirmation for Mercedes-Benz USA in right of first refusal case.
Fresno Motors v. Mercedes-Benz USA
, No. 12-15981 (9th Cir. 2014)
In a precedent-setting, published opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's summary judgment for WTO's client, Mercedes-Benz USA. The appeal involved MBUSA's right of first refusal relating to a purchase agreement entered into by one of its dealers. Most importantly, in its opinion, the Court expressly stated that when a manufacturer exercises its right of first refusal, a frustrated prospective buyer cannot sue for tortious interference or interference with prospective economic advantage unless the manufacturer committed a legal wrong independent from the interference.
The Court also affirmed the district court's decision in favor of MBUSA on fraud and unfair competition claims. WTO lawyers drafted the underlying motion for summary judgment and briefed and argued the appeal before the Ninth Circuit.