Practice Areas

Automotive and Dealer Advocacy

James, McElroy & Diehl has served the automotive retail industry for more than a decade. Our clients range from automotive groups that are major forces in the industry – such as Sonic Automotive, Inc. and Hendrick Automotive Group – to individual dealers.

Our range of automotive retail services includes, but is not limited to:

  • Complex Litigation
  • Class Action Defense
  • Finance & Insurance Practices Defense
  • Manufacturer and Franchise Litigation
  • Dealership Buy/Sell Litigation
  • Employment Disputes
  • Executive Departures
  • Unfair Competition Prosecution
  • Consumer Complaints
  • Warranty Disputes
  • Zoning and Signage Litigation

Cases in which our attorneys have provided automotive & dealer advocacy include, but are not limited to:

Reginald Mills, et al. v. Hendrick Automotive Group, et al., North Carolina Superior Court, County of Union, Case No. 04-CVS-2301 (2004-2009). John Arrowood, Rich Fennell and Adam Ross represented Hendrick Automotive Group along with a number of dealerships and other entities in defense of this class action lawsuit which was recently resolved.

Michael Gordon v. Fort Mill Ford, Inc. and Sonic Automotive, Inc., United States District Court, District of South Carolina, Rock Hill Division; Case No. 0-07-992-CMC-JRM (2007-2009). The plaintiff in this case filed multiple employment claims against Sonic and its subsidiary, including claims for hostile work environment and race discrimination. Bill Diehl, John Buric and Adam Ross achieved summary judgment in favor of Sonic on all claims and summary judgment in favor of Fort Mill Ford on all but one claim. That single claim against Fort Mill Ford was later resolved voluntarily by the parties.

Ann Marie Hughes v. Sonic – Newsome of Florence, Inc., and Sonic Automotive, Inc., Court of Common Pleas, County of Florence, South Carolina, Case No. 2004CP211519 (2004-2008). This was a putative class action involving allegations that failure to disclose dealer reserve to consumers violated South Carolina law. Bill Diehl, Preston Odom and Jared Gardner successfully defended against the plaintiff’s motion for an injunction, which encompassed all substantive elements of the case. Afterward, the case settled with all proceedings dismissed with prejudice.

Donald Automotive Group, LLC, et al. v. Jack Rock Holdings, et. al., North Carolina Superior Court, County of Mecklenburg, Case No. 08-CVS-2400 (2008). Adam Ross brought this action on behalf of Donald Automotive Group and certain other entities to recover their earnest money deposit after a dealership transaction failed to close. This matter settled out of court approximately six months after it was filed, and Donald Automotive Group recovered its entire earnest money deposit.

Darcars of Rockville, Inc. v. Sonic-Rockville Imports, Inc., Circuit Court Montgomery County, Maryland, Case No. 253598 (2004-2005). Bill Diehl and Jared Gardner defended Sonic-Rockville Imports, Inc., against a suit in which Darcars of Rockville sought specific performance of a contract to purchase a Porsche dealership in Rockville Maryland. The Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of Sonic-Rockville Imports.

MMR Holdings, LLC, and Town & Country Ford, Inc. v. City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Zoning Board of Adjustment, North Carolina Superior Court, County of Mecklenburg, Case No. 04-CVS-919 (2003-2005). This action was an appeal from a decision of the City of Charlotte Zoning Board of Adjustment involving a roof sign at Town & Country Ford. Richard Fennell on behalf of MMR Holdings and Town & Country Ford appealed through the Zoning Board of Adjustment, to the North Carolina Superior Court, and finally to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which reversed the Zoning Board’s decision. The roof sign that was in dispute stands as originally erected.