Chrysler’s rejected dealers likely will see critical e-mails

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

US Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez in New York wants to unseal company e-mails personally critical of two rejected Chrysler dealers. Their lawyers claim that these documents will prove that the stores were shut down for non-performance reasons.

The transcript for the April 22 hearing reveals that Judge Gonzalez had stated that he wants to open these e-mails that will possibly be used in arbitration by former Chrysler dealers Jim Tarbox of North Kingstown, R.I., and Mark Calisi of Riverhead, N.Y.

These e-mails by Chrysler managers in 2009 had criticized the dealers for being litigious.

These e-mails support claims that Chrysler's decision-making process was affected by personal interests. It has yet to be clarified if these e-mails will influence cases outside of the arbitrations of these two dealers.

The judge expressed support for a Chrysler offer (which contracts its earlier stand) to provide the e-mails to Tarbox and Calisi, subject to a confidentiality agreement that they not share them with other dealers in arbitration.

Gonzalez had asked Chrysler to draft an order, consistent with its proposals in court, that he will consider signing. In an e-mail to Automotive News, Chrysler said that it will only give a statement once Chief Judge Gonzalez issues his order.

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