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Weingartz Supply Co. v. Salsco Inc.

Court of Appeals of Michigan

April 9, 2015

WEINGARTZ SUPPLY COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SALSCO INC., Defendant-Appellee

Page 376

Oakland Circuit Court. LC No. 2012-130602-CZ.

For WEINGARTZ SUPPLY COMPANY, Retained, Plaintiff-Appellant: KIMBERLY COCHRANE, TROY, MI.

For SALSCO INC, Retained, Defendant-Appellee: MUNSON GRANT, FARMINGTON HILLS, MI.

Before: MURRAY, P.J., and SAAD and K. F. KELLY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 377

[310 Mich.App. 228] Henry William Saad, J.

Plaintiff appeals the trial court's order that granted defendant summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10).[1] For the reasons stated below, we affirm.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case requires us to interpret a section of an act that has not been fully interpreted in a published Michigan decision. The act involved, the Farm and Utility Equipment Act (FUEA) MCL 445.1451, et seq., regulates interactions between manufacturers and wholesalers (which the act labels " suppliers" ) that sell farm and utility equipment to other businesses, and businesses (which the act labels " dealers" ) that sell farm and utility equipment directly to consumers. The FUEA is designed to assist dealers of farm and utility equipment, and it provides certain rights and remedies dealers may invoke and use against suppliers. However, a dealer cannot invoke the rights and remedies provided by the FUEA unless its contractual relationship with its supplier has been terminated. Accordingly, this threshold matter--whether an agreement has been terminated--determines whether a dealer can seek a remedy against a supplier under the FUEA.

The question presented in this case relates to the method by which a dealer may terminate an agreement with a supplier, before it seeks a remedy under the FUEA: namely, whether the dealer must terminate its agreement with a supplier via certified mail. Plaintiff, a dealer of utility equipment, claims that the FUEA makes termination by certified mail optional, and that [310 Mich.App. 229] a dealer is able to terminate the agreement with its supplier in other ways and still invoke the remedies listed in the statute. Defendant, a supplier of utility equipment, argues that the FUEA requires a dealer to terminate an agreement by certified mail before it seeks a remedy under the FUEA.

Because the plain language of the FUEA explicitly mandates that a dealer must terminate its agreement with a supplier via certified mail before it can seek a remedy under the act, we reject plaintiff's argument and affirm the trial court's grant of summary disposition to defendant.

II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Weingartz Supply Company (Weingartz), is a retail company that sells and services grounds-maintenance equipment. Defendant, Salsco, Inc. (Salsco), is a manufacturer that makes lawn rollers used to smooth and level terrain on golf courses.[2] In 2006, Weingartz contacted Salsco and ordered a number of rollers for its stores. The parties did business for the next five years, and Weingartz ordered a total of ...


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