[§437-58] Cancellation or failure to renew franchise agreement. (a) A manufacturer or distributor shall give written notice to the dealer and the board of the manufacturer's intent to terminate, discontinue, cancel, or fail to renew a franchise agreement at least sixty days before the effective date thereof, and state with specificity the grounds being relied upon for such discontinuation, cancellation, termination, or failure to renew; provided that the manufacturer or distributor may provide the notice fifteen days before the effective date of termination, discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal in the following circumstances:
(1) The dealer has filed a voluntary petition in bankruptcy or has had an involuntary petition in bankruptcy filed against it which has not been discharged within thirty days after the filing, there has been a closeout or sale of a substantial part of the dealer's assets related to the business, or there has been a commencement of dissolution or liquidation of the dealer;
(2) The dealer has failed to operate in the normal course of business for seven consecutive days or has otherwise abandoned the business;
(3) The dealer has pleaded guilty to or has been convicted of a felony affecting the relationship between the dealer and the manufacturer or distributor;
(4) The dealer has engaged in conduct that is injurious or detrimental to the dealer's customers or to the public welfare;
(5) There has been a change, without the prior written approval of the manufacturer or distributor, in the location of the dealer's principal place of business under the dealership agreement; or
(6) Misrepresentation or fraud upon the manufacturer by the dealer.
(b) A dealer who receives notice of intent to terminate, discontinue, cancel, or fail to renew may, within the sixty-day notice period, file a petition in the manner prescribed in section 437-51 for a determination of whether such action is taken in good faith and supported by good cause. The manufacturer or distributor shall have the burden of proof that such action is taken in good faith and supported by good cause.
(c) If the manufacturer's or distributor's notice of intent to terminate, discontinue, cancel, or fail to renew is based upon the dealer's alleged failure to comply with sales or service performance obligations, the dealer shall first be provided with notice of the alleged sales or service deficiencies and afforded at least one hundred eighty days to correct any alleged failure before the manufacturer or distributor may send its notice of intent to terminate, discontinue, cancel, or fail to renew. Good cause shall not be deemed to exist if a dealer substantially complies with the manufacturer's or distributor's reasonable performance provisions within the one hundred eighty-day cure period, or if the failure to demonstrate substantial compliance was due to factors that were beyond the control of the dealer.
(d) Good cause shall not exist absent a breach of a material and substantial term of the franchise agreement. The existence of one or more circumstances enumerated in subsection (a)(1) through (6) above shall be presumed to be good cause, and the dealer shall have the burden of proof to show that the action was not taken in good faith and supported by good cause.
(e) Except in the circumstances enumerated in subsection (a)(1) through (6) above, the franchise agreement shall remain in effect until a final judgment is entered after all appeals are exhausted, and during that time the dealer shall retain all rights and remedies pursuant to the franchise agreement, including the right to sell or transfer the franchise.
(f) Upon the termination, discontinuation, cancellation, or failure to renew the franchise agreement by the manufacturer or distributor, the manufacturer or distributor shall compensate the dealer for all new, unused, and undamaged parts listed in the current parts catalog and still in the original, resalable merchandising packages and in unbroken lots; provided that for sheet metal, a comparable substitute may be used. Prices shall be those in effect at the time the manufacturer or distributor receives the parts, less applicable allowances; the fair market value of all undamaged, unmodified special tools, equipment, and signage required by the manufacturer or distributor and acquired by the dealer within the three years prior to the termination; all new, undamaged, and unsold vehicle inventory of the current model year and one model year prior acquired from the manufacturer or distributor or from another same line make dealer in the ordinary course of business prior to the effective date of termination or nonrenewal; provided that the vehicle has less than five hundred miles registered on the odometer. The purchase price shall be the dealer's net acquisition cost. The compensation shall be paid to the dealer no later than ninety days from the date of the franchise termination, discontinuation, cancellation, or failure to renew.
(g) In addition to the other compensation set forth in this section, upon the termination, discontinuation, cancellation, or failure to renew the franchise agreement by a manufacturer or distributor without good cause and good faith; or as a result of the discontinuation of a line make, the manufacturer or distributor shall compensate the dealer at the fair market value for the dealer's capital investment, which shall include the going business value of the business, goodwill, property, and improvement owned or leased by the dealer for the purpose of the franchise as of the effective date of the termination or one day prior to the date of the notice, whichever is greater. The compensation shall be paid to the dealer no later than ninety days from the date of the franchise termination, discontinuation, cancellation, or failure to renew.
(h) As used in this section, "good faith" means the duty of each party to any franchise agreement to fully comply with that agreement, and to act in a fair and equitable manner towards each other. [L 2010, c 164, pt of §2]
Retroactive application of this section and §437-52(3) did not violate the contracts clause; plaintiff distributor was granted leave to amend to allege claims based on violation of those sections, where, among other things, this section and §437-52(3) substantially impaired the parties' contractual relationship. 81 F. Supp. 3d 993 (2014).