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A Massachusetts judge has denied a request by dealers for a preliminary injunction against Tesla Motors Inc., which will allow the automaker to operate its store in suburban Boston as the dealers' lawsuit against the company proceeds.
The ruling, filed Friday, is an early setback for the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and individual dealerships that sued Tesla on Oct. 16, claiming the electric-vehicle maker has violated Massachusetts' licensing, consumer protection and franchise laws. The lawsuit poses a challenge to Tesla's strategy of owning and operating its own retail stores, rather than granting franchises to dealers as other automakers do.
The dealers asked the Massachusetts Superior Court for a restraining order and injunction that would stop the Tesla-owned showroom in Natick, Mass., which opened Sept. 28, from doing "anything other than an unstaffed display of a locked automobile." To get an injunction in Massachusetts, as in federal court, plaintiffs must show they are likely to prevail in the case and will otherwise suffer irreparable harm.
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