December 10, 2015.
A.S. Metcalf, Esq., Eaton Peabody, Brunswick, for appellant
Darling's Auto Mall.
A. Randlett, Esq., Richardson, Whitman, Large & Badger,
Bangor, for appellee General Motors LLC.
argument: Judy A.S. Metcalf, Esq., for appellant
Darling's Auto Mall.
J. Badger Jr., Richardson, Whitman, Large & Badger, Bangor,
for appellee General Motors LLC.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.
[¶1] Darling's Auto Mall (Darling's
or Darling's Auto) appeals from a judgment entered by the
Superior Court (Penobscot County, Alexander, J. ) in
favor of General Motors LLC following a jury trial on a small
claims action. On appeal, Darling's contends that the
court (1) improperly granted a jury trial de novo; (2) erred
in denying Darling's Auto's motion for judgment as a
matter of law; and (3) committed prejudicial error by
rejecting Darling's Auto's proposed jury
instructions. We affirm the judgment.
[¶2] Viewed in the light most favorable to
the jury's verdict, the evidence in the record supports
the following facts. State v. Diana, 2014 ME 45, ¶
2, 89 A.3d 132. Darling's is a GM franchisee and
authorized dealer in Ellsworth. Pursuant to a Dealer Sales
and Service Agreement between Darling's and GM,
Darling's performs warranty repairs on qualified GM
vehicles and, in exchange, GM reimburses Darling's for
the labor and parts in connection with the warranty repairs.
[¶3] Darling's, through the Dealer Sales
and Service Agreement, is bound to perform warranty repairs
in accordance with the provisions outlined in GM's
Service Policies and Procedures Manual. In addition to the
agreement, the franchise relationship is regulated by the
Business Practices Between Motor Vehicle Manufacturers,
Distributors and Dealers Act (Dealers Act), see 10
M.R.S. § § 1171 to 1190-A (2015). In the event
of a conflict between the terms of an agreement and the
Dealers Act, the Dealers Act controls. See 10 M.R.S.
§ 1178 (" Written or oral agreements between a
manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor with a motor vehicle
dealer including . . . policies and ...