Judge Orders Hune To Release Tesla Emails
August 22, 2017
A federal judge has ruled two lawmakers, including one from Livingston County, must surrender to Tesla Motors Inc. records of their communications with lobbyists over a law barring the electric car maker from selling directly to customers.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody denied efforts by Republican State Sen. Joe Hune of Iosco Township and Republican State Rep. Jason Sheppard of Lambertville to quash the subpoenas. The lawmakers had argued their communications with third parties were privileged and should remain private, but Carmody ruled Monday that relevant communications between them and "non-legislative third parties" such as lobbyists and constituents must be surrendered.
Hune introduced a 2014 amendment to the law, which Tesla says was designed to maintain a monopoly for auto dealers on car sales in Michigan. Hune's wife, Marcia, is also a registered lobbyist employed by Government Consultant Services, whose clients include the Auto Dealers of Michigan. Sheppard was reportedly subpoenaed because of 2016 statements that Michigan dealers and manufacturers do not want Tesla in the state.
Tesla last year sued Michigan over the 2014 law that ensures automakers can only sell through independent, franchised dealerships. (JK)