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Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) reports:

Following a four-year-long battle, Chesterman Farm Equipment Ltd. (CFEI) last month won a tribunal appeal against CNH Canada Inc.

The tribunal has ordered CNH to pay Chesterman $139,846 plus $60,670.61 interest because the company cancelled the Chesterman's CNH dealership agreement at the end of 2006.

In issuing its ruling, the tribunal cited a number of relevant facts, including that:

*The parties had a 19-year business relationship,

*CNH drafted the dealer agreement with no input from CFEI,

*CFEI received CNH's President's Prestige Award for its business premises standards for 2004-05 and 2005-06,

*CFEI had a substantial investment dedicated to selling and servicing CNH's products,

*Between 2000-2006, CNH sales and service accounted for the majority of CFEI's business,

*CNH's market representation manager, who recommended non-renewal, never visited CFEI,

*CNH did not issue CFEI any written warnings its dealership status was in jeopardy,

*CNH did not tell CFEI its complete reasons for non-renewal, and

*CNH did not give CFEI any opportunity to develop a plan for curative measures to address CNH's concerns.

The matter of court costs remains to be resolved and could amount to many more thousands of dollars because the hearings have been so long and involved.

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