Assistant Attorney General Rock Wood, who represented the legislators, told Judge Ellen Carmody Thursday that courts generally only lift the veil of internal communications for criminal cases and for civil cases involving voting rights and redistricting, as reported by the Detroit Free Press.
“There would be no reason to make an exception for the Tesla lawsuit,” Wood said.
Wood went on to say that if Carmody allows access to lawmakers’ records in such a case, there will be a raft of lawsuits aimed at harassing and intimidating lawmakers to the extent that “legislators are spending all their time on this, and can’t legislate,” Wood said.
Tesla attorney John Bursch, a former state solicitor general, said there’s no privilege for communications between lawmakers and third parties, such as lobbyists.
And because the case is about potential economic discrimination that harms consumers and violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, communications among lawmakers and between lawmakers and their staff members are also subject to subpoena, Bursch
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The electric automaker had subpoenaed records from Governor Rick Snyder, Senator Joe Hune and Representative Jason Sheppard and others in its federal lawsuit against Snyder.
Tesla especially zeroed in on Senator Hune, who has
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. from the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association. According to the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Tesla attorney John Bursch said in court Thursday that Hune was subpoenaed because he introduced the last minute amendment that effectively created the Anti-Tesla law and that his wife, Marcia, “works for the auto dealers” as a registered lobbyist employed by a firm that has the Auto Dealers of Michigan as a client. The Hunes had not responded to Detroit Free Press’s request for comment and Sheppard declined a comment through a spokeswoman.
The subpoena also included Representative Sheppard, who wasn’t in office at the time. His inclusion comes from his statement to a Tesla representative that Michigan auto dealers and manufacturers don’t want Tesla in Michigan, “so you’re not going to be here,” as
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . The subpoena hearing stems from a lawsuit against Snyder, Michigan’s Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and state Attorney General Bill Schuette over a 2014 state law that has colloquially become known as the Anti-Tesla bill. The law bans automakers from selling vehicles directly to consumers, which is Tesla’s sales model.
Tesla’s complaint outlines that the law’s purpose is “to
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. by handing them a monopoly,” as we previously reported. Tesla is seeking two things from the lawsuit: a declaratory judgment that Michigan’s ban on direct-sales violates the Due Process, Equal Protection, and Commerce Clauses of the Constitution as applied to Tesla and a permanent injunction preventing state officials from enforcing the law, including the October 2014 amendment.
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The case over Michigan’s ‘Anti-Tesla law’ will be dragged out well into 2018 as both sides are expected to provide a list of expert witnesses next month, and the pre-trial “discovery” phase is predicted to take months.
A lawsuit of this magnitude has the potential to set national precedent in commerce and trade regulations as Tesla continues to defend its business model relying strictly on hype and word-of-mouth.
“Any type of lawsuit like this — whether you win or lose — establishes a precedent,” said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor in an article published in Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . “It’s hard to change the direction of that. It’s a big deal.”
As Model 3 sales begin to roll out, the law is stifling business in a state where car manufacturing is the largest industry.
The law bars Tesla from practicing its direct-to-consumer distribution model. New auto sales can only be conducted by franchised auto dealerships, which Tesla claims discriminates against out-of-state interests and is an unconstitutional infringement on their preferred business model.
Tesla is currently finding ways around the law — consumers can order their Teslas online but they have to pick them up in neighboring states like Ohio or Illinois.
In Detroit, affectionately referred to as “Motor City,” the automotive industry is the largest industry and largest employer in the entire state of Michigan. Nearly 5 percent of Michigan’s workforce is employed by the auto industry and the industry accounts for $42.4 billion, or nearly 11 percent of the state’s total Gross Domestic Product.
It comes as no surprise that industry giants have powerful lobbyists working to further their agenda. Related political action committees have donated more than $1 million to state office holders since 2011, including all but two active legislators, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network as cited in the article.
Revisions were made to the legislation in 2014, but Musk and company are claiming that these revisions are “protectionist” and are aimed at maintaining the status quo of sales regulations.
Representative Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), introduced legislation that would allow Tesla and other automakers to distribute directly to retailers rather than franchised dealerships, but the bill went nowhere. Miller is a fervent advocate for free-enterprise and is baffled by the states unwillingness to budge on the matter.
“For me it’s simply common sense,” said Miller. “Refusing any company’s style with protectionist laws is just not the right thing to do. I don’t care if it’s Tesla, a small startup…someone who wants to sell jeans or baseballs directly should not have this sort of barrier to be in the marketplace.”
In addition to the lawsuit, Tesla has also Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. any correspondence between lobbyists and state legislators containing communications regarding the 2014 amended law.
Tesla claims it subpoenaed the legislators because of a June 2016 statements to the company that it will “not be allowed to operate in Michigan because Michigan dealers and manufacturers do not want Tesla in the state.”
Legislators fought back with their claim that this subpoena is an attempt by Tesla to harass them for not submitted to Tesla’s demands.
A trial date has not yet been set.
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By Guest Nicole
A World War Two Navy veteran had the 94th birthday of a lifetime when we won $300,000 on a lottery ticket that his daughter bought him.
After sending lottery tickets to family members on their birthdays for years, Ervin Smolinski, from South Branch, Michigan, was shocked when he was given a Double Bonus Cashword instant game ticket worth $300,000 on his own special day, according to Michigan Lottery Connect.
As it was a family tradition, Smolinski had received multiple Double Bonus Cashword tickets as gifts on March 17, his birthday. "The big winner was the first one I scratched,” he said.
Smolinski added that because he's "seen a lot" in his time, he doesn't get worked up too easily, so managed to stay calm when he realized he had won. He plans to spend his big prize on a new shed and a newer used car, as well as invest some of it. “I’m pretty frugal, I always shop sales and take care of my money and that won’t change. The only thing that will change is I won’t have as much stress in my life worrying about money,” he said.
Kalamazoo County, Michigan authorities say last evening's shooting spree resulted in six deaths with two others seriously wounded. Each victim was shot multiple times. Police acknowledge that an earlier report that a 14-year-old girl died is incorrect; she is alive, but "severely, gravely" injured. The suspect, a 45-year-old man who is a Uber driver without a prior criminal record, was taken into custody without a struggle.