OPEI urges Supreme Court to overturn new manufacturer-dealer contractual law in New Hampshire

On behalf of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), Kelley Drye filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a petition of certiorari. The New Hampshire law unconstitutionally alters pre-existing contracts without justification and will entrench poor-performing yard and garden equipment dealers. The law makes it virtually impossible for a yard and garden equipment manufacturer to terminate a poor-performing dealer or add a new dealer in the state of New Hampshire, unless that manufacturer first obtains state approval through a cumbersome, protracted and unduly expensive process stacked against the manufacturers.

“Ultimately, the New Hampshire law needlessly meddles in the manufacturer-dealer relationship, hinders the free marketplace, and hurts consumers,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.

The OPEI amicus urges the Court to seek the views of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the anti-competitive impacts of the state law. Kelley Drye Senior Advisor Lee Terry, former chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ “Commerce” Subcommittee (which oversees the FTC), said, “Congress established the FTC to protect consumers. The FTC should weigh in on important anti-competition legislation, which harms consumers due to reduced competition, fewer available products, and poor servicing of products.”

Kelley Drye Antitrust Partner David H. Evans said, “Strong competition among dealers contributes to optimum market penetration for manufacturers. That competition benefits consumers by ensuring that pricing and after-sale service are driven by meaningful competition among dealers.”

“OPEI’s brief should persuade the Court to grant the petition and ultimately overturn the New Hampshire law in order to encourage fair competition and protect New Hampshire consumers,” added Kiser.

The Kelley Drye brief was submitted by William M. Guerry Jr., Mark R. Robeck, David H. Evans and Travis H. Cushman.