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Southwestern News

1HomePageMap small sw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, ColoradoTexas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

Tiny Tesla Motors has made news recently for two remarkable achievements.

The Texas Legislature has taken an important step to help protect employers who are willing to give applicants with a criminal record a second chance. House Bill 1188, which takes effect Sept. 1, 2013, will limit the liability of employers who hire applicants with a criminal record. The new law provides that a “cause of action may not be brought against an employer, general contractor, premises owner, or other third party solely for negligently hiring or failing to adequately supervise an employee, based on evidence that the employee has been convicted of an offense.”

An Oklahoma appellate court rejected a trial court’s decision that had found Ford Motor Company vicariously liable to disgruntled customers of a now-defunct dealership.

Thornton v. Ford Motor Co. The Oklahoma Court of Appeals ruled that Ford Motor Company was not liable to customers for the fraudulent actions of one of its dealerships. The dealership in question had forged checks and failed to deliver vehicles, leading to lawsuits by several customers.

At trial, the customers won on a theory of apparent agency, arguing that Ford’s actions led them to believe that the dealership was acting as an agent of Ford rather than as an independent dealer. The appellate     court overturned this ruling, however, finding instead that customers could not reasonably have believed that the dealership was acting under Ford’s authority.

Although Ford’s internal documents showed a more substantial connection to the dealership, the court said that the documents could not have induced reliance on the part of customers because it was not observable by customers at the time of sale.

Edmunds.com has filed a lawsuit against online reputation management company Humankind Design Ltd. for attempting to post fraudulent dealer-supplied reviews on the Edmunds.com site. According to a petition filed in Texas, Edmunds.com claims it discovered that Humankind tried to register almost 2,200 fake members on its website, Edmunds.com said.

Humankind, of Friendswood, Texas, helps companies with reputation management. According to the company’s Web site, it can help a company improve its Google results, in part by pushing out negative reviews that show up on the first page with good ones and by fixing problems and improving ratings on third-party review sites.

Two pieces of insurance legislation, passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session, could be of great significance to businesses in Texas. SB 1332 relates to classifying business as small and large employers for health insurance purposes, and SB 734 relates to the creation of captive insurance companies in Texas. A captive insurance company is essentially a private insurer that is a wholly owned subsidiary of another company.

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 17:42

Texas Governor Signs Franchise Tax Bil

The Texas Franchise Tax legislation, supported by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and ASA-Texas, was included in Substitute House Bill 500, which recently passed the Texas legislature, and has now been signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.