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Ford v. Ford Motor Co.

March 12, 2007

ASPEN FORD PLAINTIFF,
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY DEFENDANT.
UNIVERSAL FORD PLAINTIFF,
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sifton, Senior Judge.

MEMORANDUM

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs, McCarville Ford, Inc. ("McCarville") and L&B Lincoln-Mercury, Inc. ("L&B")*fn1 , bring this motion, pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure*fn2 and Local Rule 6.3, seeking reconsideration of this Court's decision dated March 28, 2006, granting defendant's motion for summary judgment. Defendant cross-moves for the entry of partial summary judgment and an award of costs and fees. For the reasons set forth below the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and defendant's motions for entry of partial summary judgment and costs and fees are denied.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the submissions of the parties in connection with this motion and this Court's earlier decision, familiarity with which is assumed.

Plaintiffs L&B and McCarville are automobile dealers engaged in the business of selling and servicing Ford automobiles. Defendant Ford is engaged in the business of manufacturing automobiles, including Ford, Lincoln and Mercury model vehicles.

Plaintiffs each operate under Sales and Services Agreements with Ford (the "Agreements") which set forth the respective rights and obligations of Ford and the plaintiffs.

Pursuant to the Agreements, L&B and McCarville provide parts and labor at no cost to customers whose vehicles are repaired under warranty from Ford. The Agreements provide that Ford will reimburse its dealers for warranty work and incorporate by reference Ford's Warranty and Policy Manual (the "Manual"). The Manual sets forth Ford's policies and procedures for the submission of claims for warranty work and how dealers are to be reimbursed. The Manual is distributed to Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury dealers nationwide. Both L&B and McCarville have received copies of the Manual.

Under § 4(1)(b)(1) and § 4(1)(b)(4) of the Agreement:

(1) The Dealer shall perform all warranty and policy service on each COMPANY PRODUCT it is certified to sell and service, presented by owners, in accordance with the warranty and policy applicable thereto and the appropriate provisions of the Warranty Manual and CUSTOMER SERVICE BULLETIN.

***

(4) The Dealer shall submit claims to the Company for reimbursement for the parts and labor used in performing warranty, policy and campaign work and the Company shall reimburse the Dealer in connection therefor, in accordance with the provisions of the Warranty Manual or campaign instructions and the Dealer's approved Warranty labor rate. The Dealer shall maintain adequate records and documents supporting such claims in accordance with the provisions of the Warranty Manual. (Peterson Dec. Ex. C. at 6447.)

To be reimbursed for the parts and labor expended on a warranty repair, L&B and McCarville, and other dealers under contract with Ford, currently must submit a claim to Ford within 90 days of the date of the repair.*fn3 (Barry Dec. Ex. C [2003 Manual].) After reviewing the claim, Ford pays the dealer for parts as specified in the applicable National Warranty Parts Reimbursement Policy (the "National Reimbursement Policy"). The National Reimbursement Policy is distributed annually to Ford dealers nationwide, including L&B and McCarville.

Pursuant to the Manual, to submit a claim for reimbursement, L&B, McCarville, and other dealers nationwide, are required to enter certain information, such as repair order number, part price, and vehicle identification number, into Ford's computerized Direct Warranty Entry System ("DWE"). Once a claim is entered via DWE, Ford's Automated Claims Editing System ("ACES II") reviews it for accuracy and may edit information included in the warranty submission. For example, if a dealer enters a part price that deviates from the price for that part set forth in the ...


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