Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs choose well established, successful, nationally recognized corporate brand companies, like U-Haul Dealerships, to be successful in their own business careers.
With over 16,000 active dealers across America, U-Haul, founded in 1945, has been successful in renting trucks, trailers, and other pieces of equipment, and many U-Haul dealerships also provide self-storage units, among other services.
But In 2006, one those thousands of hard working entrepreneurs and U-Haul Dealers, Leigh Robinson, owner of Downtown Self Storage since 2001, finally got fed up with U-Hauls’ poor service and lack of corporate support, and terminated his dealership contract with U Haul and signed up with Budget.
U Haul sued the Robinson’s business, under the non-competition clause in their contract. The dealer took the position that the non-competition language was in violation of California law.
And “Under Ca B&P Code 16600 anti- competition clauses are void and unenforceable in the State of California.”
Now this wasn’t the first time U-Haul had sued a former dealer under the same illegal clause.
In fact, no Court in the State of California has ever once ruled that U-Haul’s non-competition clauses are enforceable.
And U-Haul knew that!
Because in 1985, our federal government filed a complaint against U-Haul. That complaint said that U-Haul sued its competitors without a valid reason, trying to create a monopoly and harass its competitors.
Our government also said: “U-Haul…had pursued a deliberate course of action to abuse the judicial process in order to injure a competitor.”
And only two years later, in 1987 our federal government issued an Order that says: U-Haul must stop filing lawsuits intended to harass or injure a competitor.
U Haul then dismissed their lawsuit, knowing full well they would lose, but not before costing the dealer, Leigh Robinson, tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Because U Haul dismissed the suit before there’d been a judicial determination, Robinson wasn’t able to collect his attorney’s fees under the dealership contract.
When Robinson learned that this was a standard practice for U Haul, he sued them for malicious prosecution.
And that’s where this story gets very interesting.
The jury in Robinson v U-Haul found that U-Haul’s original lawsuit brought against Downtown Self Storage was malicious and brought for an improper purpose. They ruled that Robinson was entitled to recover his attorney’s fees and to receive general damages
They also determined that U-Haul has no trade secrets, as they had claimed.
The judge then ruled as a matter of law that the non-competition clause in U-Haul’s dealer contract is illegal and unenforceable. U-Haul dealers throughout California can now do what Robinson did when he was dissatisfied with U Haul, give U-Haul a thirty-day dealer termination notice and switch immediately to being a dealer for one of the other truck rental companies.
Robinson v U-Haul was a lengthy battle, but the outcome is good news for the people of California. It will increase competition and result in better deals and service for consumers. It may even be good news for U Haul, who will have to compete fairly and treat its dealers fairly, if it wants to keep them. This case is significant because an industry giant had to stop bullying the little guys. Who says you can’t get justice?
Today, the Insider Exclusive Investigative News Team visits with the Matthew and Rebecca Freeman, Leigh Robinson’s lawyers, to go behind the headlines in this truly epic David v Goliath courtroom battle in “UHAUL DEALERS EXPOSE – Leigh Robinson’s Story”
Matt and Rebecca have earned the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike…. as two of the finest Trial lawyers in Northern California…. And across the nation. AND BECAUSE OF THAT…..They are driven to fight for people who had been harmed by the willful or negligent actions of others.
Their goals….. Not ONLY To get Justice for their clients…but to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equitably in the eyes of the law. Please contact Matt and Rebecca Freeman @ http://www.freemaninjurylaw.com/ or 888 489 6101/707 653 6952