An ex-Nissan dealer has won $256 million in damages from Nissan’s finance unit following the collapse of his Californian dealership group eight years ago.
Michael Kahn has claimed since 2010 that Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp defrauded him by cancelling dealership financing in the middle of the 2008-2010 economic crisis.
Kahn operated four Nissan dealerships, two Toyota dealers and a Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge location in Los Angeles and San Francisco and at the time, was the largest borrower of Nissan’s financing arm. However, when the economic crisis broke out, Kahn became delinquent on about $1.6 million in Nissan loans and was eventually sued and forced to pay $40 million to the Japanese automaker.
Soon after, a countersuit was filed where Kahn claimed Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp acknowledged his delinquency but told him other dealers were facing similar issues, Automotive News reports.
This week, a jury in a Southern California Superior Court ruled in favor of Kahn and awarded him $121.9 million in compensatory damages and $134.5 million in punitive damages.
In a statement, the managing partner of the law firm that represented Kahn, Skip Miller, said “This verdict vindicates Mr. Kahn and allows him to begin to restore his reputation and his life.
“Mike owed them $40 million at the time, and that was never in question. He knew he owed them that and he was attempting to repay it. The question was whether fraud took place. And this $256 million verdict was an award for fraud.”