Case Studies

In the United States District Court, Gary Leydig obtained a jury verdict in excess of $14,000,000 on behalf of a terminated dealer.

To-Am Equipment Company v. Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America.   A typical dealership agreement gives a manufacturer the absolute right to terminate the dealership "at will".  Faced with notice of just such a termination, a lift truck dealer and its original attorney assumed the dealer was dead and that the many years of hard work and the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into the business were lost following the manufacturer’s notice of termination.  Gary Leydig saw it differently. He pursued an action on behalf of the dealer against the manufacturer for wrongful termination and obtained a multi-million dollar recovery for the dealer through a federal court jury trial.  Gary proved that the dealership agreement was in fact a franchise and that the dealer was entitled to all of the protections of a franchisee under the Illinois Franchise Disclosure Act.  First among those rights was the right to be terminated only for good cause, regardless of what the manufacturer's contract said to the contrary.  The To-Am case is widely recognized and cited by lawyers, legal treatises and the courts as a watershed in the fight for the protection of dealers from wrongful and arbitrary terminations.

Girl Scouts of Manitou Council v. Girl Scouts of the United States of America.  Franchises and dealerships exist in even the most unexpected relationships. In the first case of its kind in the nation, Gary Leydig established that a local, nonprofit Girl Scouts council was in fact a “dealership” or franchise under the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law. As such, the council was entitled to the same protections as a dealer of any other product or service. Notwithstanding heavy resistance from the national organization and the trial court, Gary and his team successfully pressed the issue to the United States Court of Appeals – twice – and obtained a permanent injunction to prevent the national organization’s efforts to eliminate the 50+ year old council.

Minnesota Supply Company v. The Raymond Corporation.  Following a three week jury trial in the United States District Court in Minnesota, Gary Leydig obtained a verdict in excess of $14,000,000 on behalf of a dealer of specialty warehousing equipment. Acting under the authority of its form dealership contract, the manufacturer threatened, and ultimately followed through on its threat, to terminate the dealership when the dealer took on a second line of equipment. Proceeding under a little-used Minnesota statute dealing with "heavy and utility equipment,” Gary Leydig successfully argued that the manufacturer's form contract provision, allowing terminations "at will," was void. Gary then proceeded to prove that the market penetration requirements imposed upon the dealer by the manufacturer were unreasonable and that the dealer's inability to meet those requirements was not "good cause" for termination.  The quality of the evidence and arguments advanced by Gary and his trial expert were so convincing that the jury returned a verdict for the exact amount – to the penny – requested by Gary in his closing argument.  The trial judge added an additional $749,000 to the judgment for the recovery of our client’s fees and expenses.