Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New England, Inc., No. 83-1009

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
Writing for the CourtHAYNSWORTH
Citation715 F.2d 10
PartiesSCUNCIO MOTORS, INC., Plaintiff, Appellant, v. SUBARU OF NEW ENGLAND, INC., Defendant, Appellee.
Decision Date17 August 1983
Docket NumberNo. 83-1009

Page 10

715 F.2d 10
SCUNCIO MOTORS, INC., Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
SUBARU OF NEW ENGLAND, INC., Defendant, Appellee.
No. 83-1009.
United States Court of Appeals,
First Circuit.
Argued April 7, 1983.
Decided Aug. 17, 1983.

Page 11

Joshua Teverow, Providence, R.I., with whom Letts, Quinn & Licht, P.C., Providence, R.I., was on brief, for plaintiff, appellant.

Robert W. Mahoney, Boston, Mass., with whom Donald R. Frederico, Hale & Dorr, Boston, Mass., George M. Vetter, Jr., and Vetter & White, Providence, R.I., were on brief, for defendant, appellee.

Before HAYNSWORTH, * Senior Circuit Judge, COFFIN and BREYER, Circuit Judges.

HAYNSWORTH, Senior Circuit Judge:

In this case in the diversity jurisdiction the question is the validity under the laws of Rhode Island of a termination of an automobile dealership franchise.

In 1972, Scuncio Motors, Inc. became a franchised dealer in Subaru automobiles in Peacedale, Rhode Island. In August 1982, Subaru of New England ("SNE"), the regional distributor of Subaru vehicles, undertook to terminate Scuncio's franchise, and Scuncio sought injunctive relief, contending that the termination was unlawful under Rhode Island statutes.

The requested relief was denied, and we now affirm.

I.

Despite a strong trend of growing sales of Subaru vehicles in the United States, Scuncio's sales did not reflect the trend. It consistently lagged behind other dealers in the region. As early as 1974, representatives of Scuncio and SNE began discussing changes designed to increase Scuncio's sales. Scuncio occupied a small facility of only 11,450 square feet, and one of the subjects of discussion was the expansion of that facility or relocation to a larger one.

In May 1981, SNE sent to Scuncio several documents stipulating minimum standards for dealerships in the region respecting capital, inventory, facilities and personnel. It also sent a dealer profile form comparing Scuncio's operation to the regional minimum standards. That profile showed the deficiencies in Scuncio's facility. In letters, SNE emphasized the importance of verification by Scuncio of the accuracy of the dealer profile. After reviewing the profile with his lawyer, Mr. Scuncio signed the document without expression of any complaint or reservation.

In July 1981, Mr. Scuncio and his lawyer met with representatives of SNE to negotiate a new franchise agreement. The initial proposal of SNE contained a provision requiring Scuncio to relocate to a facility within its franchise area to meet the standards of Subaru of America and SNE. Scuncio sought a number of changes in the agreement, to all of which SNE acceded. He wanted added to his franchise area the town of Narragansett in substitution for the town of Westerly. He wanted an option of relocation to Newport with the corresponding assignment to him of a new franchise area. He wished an extension by several months of the dates proposed by SNE for completion of his relocation. Though he obtained SNE's agreement to each of his requests and suggestions, he did not question the wisdom or necessity of the relocation.

A few days later, SNE sent to Scuncio a proposed agreement which had been revised in accordance with the tentative verbal understanding. After conferring with his lawyer, Mr. Scuncio then requested and obtained a deletion of a formal, written acknowledgment of the inadequacy of his present facilities. The new agreement was then executed on behalf of both parties.

The new, executed agreement provided that Scuncio would relocate its facility by October 1, 1982. There was a schedule for transitional stages and standards with which the new facility was to comply. There was an acknowledgment by Scuncio that the relocation schedule was reasonable

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22 practice notes
  • Cloverdale Equip. Co. v. Manitowoc Engineering Co., Civil Action No. 96-40203.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • January 13, 1997
    ...v. Becco, Ltd., 985 F.2d 513 (11th Cir.1993); Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New Eng., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1130 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd., 715 F.2d 10 (1983); H. Phillips Co., Inc. v. Brown-Forman Distillers Corp., 483 F.Supp. 1289 (W.D.Wis. 1980); Jacobsen v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 392 N.W.2d 8......
  • McInnis v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc., Civ. A. No. 82-0422-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • January 14, 1986
    ...568 F.Supp. 920, 921 (D.R.I.1983); Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New England, Inc., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1124 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd, 715 F.2d 10 (1st Cir.1983). The Rhode Island Supreme Court has never confronted "the troublesome question of whether, without more, a release of `all persons, ......
  • Blue Cross of Rhode Island v. Cannon, Civ. A. No. 83-0772 S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • June 22, 1984
    ...the meaning and effect of the statute." Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New England, Inc., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1124 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd, 715 F.2d 10 (1st In determining whether the dual option provision automatically applies to every employer in Rhode Island irrespective of the initiation o......
  • Gleason v. Merchants Mut. Ins. Co., Civ. A. No. 83-0694 S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • June 20, 1984
    ...Corp., 561 F.Supp. 740, 744 (D.R.I.1983); Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New England, Inc., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1124 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd, 715 F.2d 10 (1st Cir.1983). The court must, in that regard, "make an informed prophecy as to the meaning and effect" of the policy provisions and of the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • Cloverdale Equip. Co. v. Manitowoc Engineering Co., Civil Action No. 96-40203.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • January 13, 1997
    ...v. Becco, Ltd., 985 F.2d 513 (11th Cir.1993); Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New Eng., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1130 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd., 715 F.2d 10 (1983); H. Phillips Co., Inc. v. Brown-Forman Distillers Corp., 483 F.Supp. 1289 (W.D.Wis. 1980); Jacobsen v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 392 N.W.2d 8......
  • McInnis v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc., Civ. A. No. 82-0422-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • January 14, 1986
    ...568 F.Supp. 920, 921 (D.R.I.1983); Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New England, Inc., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1124 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd, 715 F.2d 10 (1st Cir.1983). The Rhode Island Supreme Court has never confronted "the troublesome question of whether, without more, a release of `all persons, ......
  • Blue Cross of Rhode Island v. Cannon, Civ. A. No. 83-0772 S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • June 22, 1984
    ...the meaning and effect of the statute." Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New England, Inc., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1124 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd, 715 F.2d 10 (1st In determining whether the dual option provision automatically applies to every employer in Rhode Island irrespective of the initiation o......
  • Gleason v. Merchants Mut. Ins. Co., Civ. A. No. 83-0694 S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • June 20, 1984
    ...Corp., 561 F.Supp. 740, 744 (D.R.I.1983); Scuncio Motors, Inc. v. Subaru of New England, Inc., 555 F.Supp. 1121, 1124 (D.R.I.1982), aff'd, 715 F.2d 10 (1st Cir.1983). The court must, in that regard, "make an informed prophecy as to the meaning and effect" of the policy provisions and of the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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