Tesla Subpoena: Michigan Attorney General Says Releasing Documents Will Cause Harassment

2 months ago by Steven Loveday 55

Tesla

Typical Tesla store showroom

The Michigan Attorney General insists that releasing communications between Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, key lawmakers, and the Michigan Dealers Association will lead to corporate harassment and intimidation, and additional lawsuits.

As we previously reported, Tesla has subpoenaed said information in order to prove that Michigan lawmakers made 11th hour decisions specifically to assure that the electric automaker can’t operate in the state. The Detroit Free Press asserted that the lawsuit:

Tesla

At this point, Model 3 reservation holders in the state of Michigan will have to drive to another state to get their vehicles.

” … could provide a rare glimpse at what goes on among powerful lobbyists, state lawmakers and the governor’s office.”

It comes as no surprise that parties involved are making every effort to quash the subpoenas. The hearing to decide if the communications would be released related to state lawmakers — Sen. Joe Hune, R-Gregory, and Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Lambertville — took place Friday, June 16, 2017.

Hune was the person responsible for rewriting the language to negatively affect Tesla. His wife works as a lobbyist for a firm that supports auto dealers. Sheppard was subpoenaed even though he was not in office when the legislation went into law. However, he previously told a Tesla representative that Michigan auto dealers and automakers don’t want Tesla in the state. He went on to tell Tesla:

“So you’re not going to be here.”

The Hunes have yet to reply to the Freep’s request for comment. Sheppard is also refusing to talk to the media due to pending litigation.

Assistant Attorney General Rock Wood explained to the courts that releasing such confidential communications generally only happens in criminal cases. Other situations sometimes include civil cases that involve voting or redistricting rights. He insists that if the courts release the information, it will be considered a strange exception for Tesla, and open the door for a multitude of similar cases to pop up. He also shared that there is a potential for ongoing corporate harassment and intimidation imposed on the state as a result of the court’s decision. Wood said:

“This is a case by Tesla for Tesla and nobody else. They can’t say this is a case for the greater good.”

According to an update found on Electrek, Friday, June 16, 2017:

“Judge ruled this morning that they will have to produce all 3rd party communications regarding Tesla and the legislation.”

Source: Detroit Free Press

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55 responses to "Tesla Subpoena: Michigan Attorney General Says Releasing Documents Will Cause Harassment"

  1. John says:

    Really?
    That’s the best defense they could think of?!

    Wow.

    “So…Uh…No…you can’t have info, because you’d just find more things to sue us over, and that would make us feel harassed…”

    Just wow.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Right. Fortunately the “slippery slope” argument rarely works with judges… as it shouldn’t. Sure, anything can be carried too far, but that argument carried to its (il)logical conclusion would assert that we shouldn’t ever do anything, because who knows where it might lead?

      1. SJC says:

        If it involves collusion to restrain trade the state and feds should be interested.

    2. James says:

      Makes about as much sense as CNN spending 22 hours out of 24 each day hunting for Russians without any concrete evidence – And citing pundits who claim Russia made Wikileaks happen to “make Hillary Clinton look bad just before the election” – When the CONTENT of the emails is PROOF that she and the DNC were bad! LOL

      Wow! Lawyers can really muck things up, right?

      1. Mister G says:

        James, let’s withhold judgment until the special counsel completes the investigation.

        1. James says:

          It seems there has been a whole lot of investigating going on since January and no smoking guns.

          My point is that the DNC and Leon Podesta, Hillary’s campaign manager colluded to destroy Bernie Sander’s chances of the nomination and it’s all there in their emails.

          Nobody talks about it and Sanders pretended to be angry for a week and then summarily folded.

          Then there’s this issue of meeting Attorney Generals on the tarmac inside their plane, two days before the FBI discloses it’s findings, and all these deaths surrounding the Clintons, their campaigns and business dealings. It’s as if the left wanted the mob in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! But CNN cares not about that – Nope! President Trump pointed them out as “fake news” and they’ve had a bone to pick ever since.

          If any of us feels CNN, Fox or any media outlet is unbiased if not spiteful, just look at the money spend on campaign advertising on all the networks. Hillary’s camp actually boasted at an event that they had up to $2 billion to spend on her campaign! THAT’S TWO BILLION DOLLARS to win a job that earns $430,000/yr.. Now how, who and when will those who donated get payback?!!

          Mitt Romney spent $1.4 Billion on his losing campaign! Former president Obama spent around $1 billion!

          This is why we are in situations filled with fake news, vendettas against sitting presidents that look make the witch hunts during the Salem witch trials in the 1690s pale in comparison.

          “Let’s wait and see if there’s more to it”… This is our tax monies and our nation and it’s being held up by the Democratic Party.

          Look to the damning emails – don’t let media and pundits distract you with accusations that are unfounded. They dig, and they dig and they dig – but you don’t hear about any rule breaking by the DNC and their acquisition of “Super Delegates” after state primaries Sanders won. The emails are proof the system is “rigged”, as president Trump calls it.

          Here is the furthest you can take these accusations from the left. Let’s say the Trump campaign was equally crooked as the Hillary campaign colluding with the DNC…That’s a stretch, and has no proof behind it. For all we know, the Republican primary followed it’s bylaws and sanctions, and proceeded summarily. This is not a country that promotes, “guilty until proven innocent”.

          So take the Democrat mantra that far and it seems they are trying to stir up typhoons in teapots to foil any work the president intends to accomplish. “Look here!”, “Look there!”…Those nasty RUSSIANS!

          If any of us are foolish enough to be distracted by such tactics, we deserve to lose our wonderful, free democratic republic.

          1. James says:

            We are not in the Cold War era.

            Yet there is this intrinsic hatred and distrust of Russia because we all know Putin is a bad man and rules Russia and the Eastern European region like a tyrant.

            Ukraine is far more complicated that our Western news media makes out. Not all citizens of the county detest Russia’s involvement. The residents in southern Ukraine are pro-Russia, pro-Putin. The folks living in central Ukraine are in the center opinion-wise. Some if not most really don’t care if Putin steps in or not. They feel their needs will be met either way. The Ukrainians in the north loathe and fear Putin. So we in the USA seem to want to get elbows-deep in their situation. I say let them work their own situation out. We’ve been a nation at war for over 15 years now – it’s time we let others police themselves.

            So Russia is this big bad enemy – mostly built up after the election as polls showed this American dislike for all things Putin. This charade we are watching daily in the media is nothing more than blockading everything Trump said he would do.

            During the Obama administration, the Republicans were called, “The Party Of No” for obstructing projects Obama wanted to accomplish. How is this better? It’s worse because it’s not saying “no”, it’s a minority party using deception and bluster, manipulating fears of the American public, manufacturing an “ENEMY” out of Putin and trying as they might to tie Trump in with him!

            It’s insane!

            Maybe a year from now, when Don Lemon of CNN is interviewing a butler that once worked for Trump to get the “dirt” if he says his boss ever spoke to a Russian – you’ll see the light and how ridiculous this all is.

            1. Mister G says:

              James I’ll say it again let’s withhold judgement until investigation is completed by special counsel LOL

              1. James says:

                2 more years until someone starts campaigning against him?

                How about that? Sound about right?

      2. John in AA says:

        Aaaaand that, right there, is why this site needs a moderator.

        1. James says:

          Why? Because somebody doesn’t hate Trump?

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            No, because you chose to post a fake news, alt-facts, extremist partisan political rant which is utterly and totally off-topic… and to make it worse, you’re following up on that.

            Yes: Moderator action here would be very appreciated.

            1. James says:

              Nope.

              No “alt-facts” here.

              Ask me about just one fact I listed and I’ll give you references, not “fake ones” but established contents of emails.

              How dare you accuse me of “alt-facts”. Are you also mesmerized by the media circus we find ourselves in?

              It’s a story about government intervention and paid-off politicians. I contend it is relevant.

          2. John in AA says:

            No. Because you’re completely off-topic. I have plenty of places to go read people’s valuable opinions about politics.

            Given the lack of formal moderation I’m impressed most people do manage to keep on-topic regardless. However it only takes a few to ruin it.

          3. Surya says:

            No, but because it doesn’t have anything to do with the article or the content of the post you replied to.

        2. Nick says:

          Nailed it.

          Derailed into political noise on second comment. Lame.

        3. Steven says:

          Yeah, i was starting to think I clicked on the wrong email.

      3. JIMJFOX says:

        Not as much as those who refuse to stay on topic…

    3. JIMJFOX says:

      TESLAPHOBIA?

  2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “Assistant Attorney General Rock Wood explained to the courts that releasing such confidential communications generally only happens in criminal cases.”

    Hmmm, I wonder if there is a case to be made for criminal conspiracy under the Sherman Antitrust Act?

    I say, if the auto dealers want to play hardball, hopefully Tesla can kick this up to a much more serious level in the courts!

    Go Tesla! Illegitimi non carborundum.

  3. Ron M says:

    You mean Rick Scott is worried that consumers and voters will not like the backroom deals being made, maybe he shouldn’t be doing it.
    The Attorney General says releasing the documents will cause harassment. So the Attorney General knows it’s a backroom deal and wants to cover up the obvious.

  4. EVA-01 says:

    If this case gets taken more seriously, I believe franchised dealerships will be losing their grip on new vehicle sales in the U.S. All automakers should be allowed to open their own stores and/or sell their cars online.

    1. jelloslug says:

      +1

    2. James says:

      No. There is this subject of conflicts of interest. This is why dealer protections were put in place – so a manufacturer cannot open up a store that competes with an independent franchisee.

      Since Tesla has no franchised stores, there are no such conflicts. Established brands all have franchises so one solution for them is to put out other divisions ( brands like Scion for Toyota, for instance or GEO for GM ) that work the direct sales approach as Tesla does. Since those cars aren’t available anywhere but online, they could set up showrooms and service centers all they wanted without establishing any conflict with a franchise.

      1. EVA-01 says:

        You are incorrect. The Scion and GEO divisions used franchised dealerships to sell cars. All that Scion dealerships offered that was different from other franchised dealerships was no haggle pricing. It wasn’t direct sales.

        Now as for the case of direct sales conflicting with franchised dealerships, you should take a look at Mercedes-Benz as an example. They have Mercedes-Benz stores in Germany as well as Mercedes-Benz dealerships. I don’t see people causing a commotion about it. In a free market, you compete and the market decides the better way to buy, not create laws banning something so you don’t have to compete. I’m pretty sure Mercedes-Benz also has a store in Ontario, Canada despite also having Mercedes-Benz dealerships there. Someone let me know if I’m missing about the Canadian store.

        1. James says:

          No you are incorrect. You interpreted my post incorrectly.

          I never said Scion and GEO were selling cars direct.

          I said, legacy automakers COULD SET UP SEPERATE DIVISIONS – such as Scion or GEO which were new divisions of Toyota and GM respectively, that were set up to try new selling perspectives. One was a “young generation” tactic to sell to a different type of customer not usually drawn to Toyotas, the other was a new type of car not built in Michigan and marketed in proprietary dealerships with a “no dicker sticker” asking price ( non-negotiable price ).

          You should go back and reread my post. I never stated those divisions were set up to sell direct.

          1. James says:

            Those new divisions could be set up to sell direct – thus not conflicting with EXISTING CAR COMPANIES that are devoted to the franchise model.

            ( get my point now? )

            1. Nix says:

              It depends upon which state laws you are talking about. Some state laws could be interpreted to allow a new division to open direct sales. Other states are very clear that it is based upon “manufacturer” where “manufacturer” is defined as the parent company, not the divisions of the parent company. So they wouldn’t be allowed to do this in every 50 state, and they would end up facing what Tesla is facing.

              Even worse, they would likely be sued by their own dealerships under the legal theory that the new line of cars would be an intentional attempt to evade current laws, and should be treated by the courts as a straw transaction. They would actually have a tougher time than Tesla is having.

    3. Mint says:

      I suspect existing automakers will make a deal with their dealerships regarding online sales. Automakers and dealerships need each other.

      If people take test drives at independent dealers and then buy online from manufacturers, dealerships will be getting screwed.

      Fortunately Tesla has none of that baggage, so they’ll have a leg up once the smoke settles.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “Automakers and dealerships need each other.”

        At the very least, that’s debatable.

        Auto dealers certainly do need auto manufacturers… obviously! And in the past, when car buyers had no way of finding the actual price that dealers paid the manufacturers, there was a reasonable argument to be made that auto makers needed independently owned franchise dealerships.

        But in the Information Age, with the internet at everyone’s fingertips, the dealership business model is outmoded. Tesla is showing how the business of selling cars can be improved by cutting out the middleman. Obviously that terrifies auto dealers… as well it should!

  5. Nix says:

    Defendants: “This is going to cause a sh!+ storm!!

    Judge: “You better get yourself a Pampers umbrella…”

  6. Nix says:

    “Assistant Attorney General Rock Wood explained to the courts that releasing such confidential communications generally only happens in criminal cases”

    Well, if they really did write a bill specifically to keep Tesla out of the state, they certainly were breaking the Supreme Law of the Land. The US Constitution specifically bans them writing a Bill of Attainder:

    Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.”

    “A bill of attainder was a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial. Such actions were regarded as odious by the framers of the Constitution because it was the traditional role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment.” William H. Rehnquist, The Supreme Court, page 166.

    “Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community.” James Madison, Federalist Number 44, 1788.”

    1. georgeS says:

      Hey Nix,
      Are you a lawyer?

      1. Nix says:

        george — I apologize in advance for the non-answer answer, but I don’t provide personal information about myself on public forums. I trust you understand.

        1. GeorgeS says:

          Ok I understand.

          1. James says:

            Para Legal, Law buff?

            Hey – I think he’s a lawyer. 🙂

            1. James says:

              At any rate, Nix, thanks for the information. Good stuff!

          2. Andrew D says:

            Wait ’till you get his bill! 😁

            1. floydboy says:

              LOL!

    2. floydboy says:

      YEP! The fact that they won’t even allow Tesla a service center in the state is pretty damning evidence!

  7. Leo says:

    This is about the greater good. The people have decided they want Tesla innovation. This is an example of how bulls*** beurocracy can block a better product from cannibaliiong sales of the big 3 who are unable to compete at Tesla levels of execution. Everybody already knows this is bulls*** politics at play and almost everyone understands the true motives at work in blocking Tesla.

    It really reflects so poorly on the state and Tesla will ultimately win this battle. If not in the courtroom the consumer will drive to another state and get what they want regardless of how well the big 3 can manipulate the system. Transparent and lame. Just thinking about how ridiculously lame they are makes me want to buy a Tesla and punish big 3. And I don’t even live in the US! Many feel the same and want to stick it to the big 3 once they realize the injustice of blocking a better way forward for collective quality of life . Which is the way the balance is restored in the end. Tesla wins again.

    1. James says:

      Yeah. For the greater good of the auto industry to has set up a plan to separate you and me the consumer from our hard-earned cash! 🙂

      I barf when I read this stuff from car dealership associations who say it’s for my own good (“greater good!”) that state governments give them the sole power to camel trade my trade-in, BS me in 1,000 ways and take me to the cleaners from show floor to service dept.!!!

      They have had a good thing for near 100 years of coming up with tricks to make me pay the most possible for a good, in this case an automobile. It’s time someone changed that system for good.

  8. Bret says:

    I hope the State of Michigan loses so badly in court that it sets a legal precedent that shuts this down for all states that are banning Tesla. I’m not a lawyer, but it sure sounds like racketeering to me. I also hope the subpoenas leads to criminal charges.

    1. Wineboy! says:

      Umm The state of Michigan already fought the right to ship wine to Supreme court and lost! Ken Starr was the wine industries lawyer..LOL
      Granholm vs Heald

  9. peetah says:

    And Michigan hasn’t been essentially harassing Tesla???

  10. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO …destroy anti-competition republicans.

    1. James says:

      Whuuuuut?!

      You’re pinning this anti-Tesla campaign in several states on Republicans?!!!

      Haha…GM has been outed as funding a lot of these court cases and I do believe the majority of their top executives are Democrats.

      It’s not a partisan issue. It’s a money issue. Auto dealers have had the monopoly on squeezing money out of us consumers for decades upon decades. They don’t take kindly to a challenge of that status quo.

      1. Wineboy! says:

        Michigan is mostly run by Democrats.

        1. Nick says:

          I wish!

          Alas, this is false.

          The repubs control the following offices in Michigan: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Senate, and State House.

          1. John in AA says:

            You forgot to mention Republicans also control the state Supreme Court.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Michigan is mostly run by Democrats.”

          Dear friends, this is an unfortunate example of the total disassociation from reality which results from overexposure to sources of delusions and mental illness such as Fox News, Breitbart, and The Drudge Report. Help fight this dread affliction! Support your local Indivisible group, and help bring and end to this sadly communicable mental disease!

          https://www.indivisibleguide.com/act-locally/

          https://www.facebook.com/indivisibleguide/

          1. James says:

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            I like Pushmi – let me tell you. He and I usually are on the same side of the table when commenting on electric car issues.

            That said – Earlier in this post he brashly demands my posts are political and need be stricken from the record – THEN HE POSTS BLATANT LIBERAL RUBBISH to encourage people to join the anti Trump army!

            Obstruct away. The election is over. Quite obviously many people disagree with your stance.

            I’ll go halfway with you and NOT DEMAND that your post be stricken from the page, OK? I’ll also not turn this page into a forum about OBAMACARE…

            Seriously, he scolds me then posts links to petition against Obamacare!

            Now I’ve seen it all.

            I guess obvious government overstep including unjust blockading of new car companies to sell their wares as they wish and Obamacare ( lol ) will fire up ideological passions. 🙂

        3. Mister G says:

          Take it easy on the wine…it is impairing your judgement LOL

  11. Mark C says:

    Nothing to worry about unless you did something that is shameful.

    You didn’t do something shameful, did you?

  12. Butch says:

    I don’t think Snyder and the boys could come up with any more damning than the Flint disaster? I’m sure that the Gubment will make better decisions on what we are permitted to drive than they did on the quality of water we drink.

    Couldn’t they?

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