2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 10 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
CHAPTER 1 - SELLING AND OTHER TRADE PRACTICES
ARTICLE 22 - MOTOR VEHICLE FRANCHISE PRACTICES
PART 1 - GENERAL CONSIDERATION
§ 10-1-623 - Action for violation of article; punitive damages; equitable relief; standing; venue
. Action for violation of article; punitive damages; equitable relief; standing; venue
(a) Notwithstanding the terms, provisions, or conditions of any agreement or franchise or other terms or provisions of any novation, waiver, or other written instrument, any person who is or may be injured by a violation of a provision of this article or any party to a franchise who is so injured in his or her business or property by a violation of a provision of this article relating to that franchise or any person so injured because he or she refuses to accede to a proposal for an arrangement which, if consummated, would be in violation of this article may file a petition with the Department of Revenue as provided in Code Section 10-1-667
or may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for damages and equitable relief including injunctive relief. Said person may recover damages therefor in any amount equal to the greater of (1) the actual pecuniary loss or (2) three times the actual pecuniary loss, not to exceed $750,000.00. In addition, said person may recover costs and reasonable attorney's fees as damages. Upon a prima-facie showing by the person filing the petition or cause of action that a violation of this article has occurred, the burden of proof shall then be upon the opposing party to prove that such violation did not occur.
(b) If the franchisor engages in aggravated or continued multiple intentional violations of a provision or provisions of this article, the court may award punitive damages in addition to any other damages authorized under this part.
(c) A dealer, owner, or other party, if he has not suffered any loss of money, property, employment rights, or business opportunity, may obtain final equitable relief if it can be shown that the violation of a provision of this article by a franchisor may have the effect of causing such loss of money, property, employment rights, or business opportunity.
(d) This Code section shall not prevent a dealer from voluntarily entering into a valid release agreement to resolve a specific claim, dispute, or action between the franchisor and the dealer or when separate and adequate consideration is offered and accepted, provided that the renewal of a franchise shall not by itself constitute separate and adequate consideration.
(e) Any corporation or association which is primarily owned by or comprised of dealers and which primarily represents the interests of dealers shall have standing to file a petition or cause of action with the Department of Revenue or with any court of competent jurisdiction for itself or by, for, or on behalf of any dealer or group of dealers for an alleged violation of this article or for the determination of any rights created by this article.
(f) In addition to any county in which venue is proper in accordance with any provision of the Constitution of this state or any other provision of this Code, in any cause of action brought against a manufacturer, franchisor, or distributor which is a corporation by a dealer for any alleged breach of the franchise agreement or alleged violation of this article or for the determination of any rights created by the franchise agreement or this article, venue shall be proper in the county in which the dealer engaged in the business of selling the products or services of such manufacturer, franchisor, or distributor, and the manufacturer, franchisor, or distributor which is a corporation shall be deemed to reside in such county for venue purposes. Any provision of a franchise or other agreement, under which the parties determine, agree to, control, restrict, establish, limit, or direct the venue in which a cause of action under this article shall be brought, shall be void.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer