Wisconsin Fair Dealership Case Law Update: The Dry Dock, L.L.C. v. The Godfrey Conveyor Company, Inc.

June 7, 2010

Axley Brynelson’s Distribution and Franchise Team publishes the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Case Law Update as an online resource for developments in the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law.

The Dry Dock, L.L.C. v. The Godfrey Conveyor Company, Inc. 
United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, June 7, 2010

Facts: The Dry Dock sells a wide variety of boats, boat accessories, docks and outdoor power equipment such as snow blowers, lawn mowers and chainsaws. Godfrey Conveyor Company manufactures pontoon, deck and fishing boats. The relationship between Godfrey Marine and the Dry Dock was limited: there were no defined territory, no exclusive agreements, no purchase requirements, no requirement to dedicate a certain amount of space for its products, no requirements to maintain a particular level of inventory, no requirements to purchase particular models and no requirements to operate in conformity with any particular marketing plan or standard procedure. Additional, the parties’ relationship only started in 2005 and Dry Dock only received 6% of its revenue in 2007 and 2% in 2008.

Ruling: The Court granted summary judgment to Godfrey Conveyor Company that Dry Dock was not a protected dealer under the statute because the facts did not establish the parties’ relationship as a dealership as defined under the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law.

Bottom Line: This case is an illustration of the factual analysis done by courts when determining whether a distributor is a protected dealer under the statute.

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For more information about "Wisconsin Fair Dealership Case Law Update: The Dry Dock, L.L.C. v. The Godfrey Conveyor Company, Inc.," contact Robert C. Procter at rprocter@axley.com or 608.283.6762.