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DaimlerChrysler wins a round in discrimination suit by area dealer

November 22, 2010

A federal magistrate judge has recommended that the U.S. District Court in Chicago dismiss a lawsuit filed against DaimlerChrysler brought by a former dealer who charged the factory with racial discrimination.


A dismissal would be a resounding victory in the politically and racially charged dealer-automaker dispute.


The lawsuit was filed in 2003 by Gerald Gorman, who operated the former Dodge of Midlothian and Marquette Chrysler-Jeep in Chicago. Gorman alleged that DaimlerChrysler wouldn’t approve loans or fair interest rates to customers of Gorman’s dealerships because they were located in neighborhoods with many minorities. Gorman sued, saying the practice ruined his businesses.


Seven of his minority customers also sued, alleging discrimination, and last week settled for $2,000 each. Under settlement terms, DaimlerChrysler denies all allegations.


DaimlerChrysler maintained that Gorman mismanaged his dealerships and only alleged discrimination when his businesses began suffering.


The magistrate judge did not dispute any of the allegations in the case but found that Gorman "made false statements" that led "Chrysler to suffer additional losses," as it continued to do business with his dealerships, and that Gorman failed to preserve notes and produce evidence that he was required to turn over by the court.