Carmichael Equipment says trailer contract was voided

HUNTINGTON -- A farm equipment dealer has filed a lawsuit claiming it was denied exclusive dealership rights to sell and service trailers.

Carmichael Equipment filed the suit Nov. 24 against Larry Pruitt, Thomas Dennis and Shadow Trailers in Cabell Circuit Court. The complaint alleges Carmichael was denied exclusive dealership rights to sell and service trailers in three 150-mile radius areas, including Huntington, provided in a dealer agreement.

Carmichael entered into the dealer agreement with Pruitt, Dennis and Shadow Trailer in 2006, according to the complaint. As part of the agreement, Carmichael was supposed to be an authorized dealer for sale and service of Shadow brand trailers in Bidwell, Ohio; Wurtland, Ky.; and Huntington, W.Va., the suit states.

Also, as part of the agreement, it would have exclusive dealership rights to sell and service the trailers within three circles, the center of which was each dealership location and the radius of which extended 150 miles, from Jan. 1, 2007, until the contract was terminated by either party, Carmichael claims.

"In reliance on the exclusivity of dealership arrangements, the plaintiff invested substantial sums of money to purchase an inventory of Shadow brand trailers and parts used and useful for the servicing thereof," the suit states.

But Pruitt, Dennis and Shadow Trailers allowed competing dealerships to establish in the area that was supposed to be covered exclusively by Carmichael, according to the complaint.

After Shadow Trailers breached the contract, Carmichael terminated the dealer agreement, according to the complaint.

Because of its misconduct, Shadow Trailers promised to purchase all Carmichael's inventory of trailers and parts and to reimburse it for costs, the suit states.

However, Shadow Trailers has failed to do so, Carmichael claims.

Carmichael is seeking compensatory damages of $300,000, plus costs, attorneys' fees, unspecified punitive damages and other relief the court deems just.

Richard A. Hayhurst of Parkersburg will be representing Carmichael.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 08-C-994

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