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WVC 17 A- 6 A- 11 §17A-6A-11. Where motor vehicle dealer deceased or incapacitated.
(1) Any designated family member of a deceased or incapacitated new motor vehicle dealer may succeed the dealer in the ownership or operation of the dealership under the existing dealer agreement if the designated family member gives the manufacturer or distributor written notice of his or her intention to succeed to the dealership within one hundred twenty days after the dealer's death or incapacity, agrees to be bound by all of the terms and conditions of the dealer agreement, and the designated family member meets the current criteria generally applied by the manufacturer or distributor in qualifying new motor vehicle dealers. A manufacturer or distributor may refuse to honor the existing dealer agreement with the designated family member only for good cause. In determining whether good cause exists for refusing to honor the agreement, the manufacturer or distributor has the burden of proving that the designated successor is a person who is not of good moral character or does not meet the manufacturer's existing written, reasonable and uniformly applied standards for business experience and financial qualifications.

(2) The manufacturer or distributor may request from a designated family member such personal and financial data as is reasonably necessary to determine whether the existing dealer agreement should be honored. The designated family member shall supply the personal and financial data promptly upon the request.

(3) If a manufacturer or distributor believes that good cause exists for refusing to honor the succession, the manufacturer or distributor may, within forty-five days after receipt of the notice of the designated family member's intent to succeed the dealer in the ownership and operation of the dealership, or within forty-five days after the receipt of the requested personal and financial data, serve upon the designated family member notice of its refusal to approve the succession.

(4) The notice of the manufacturer or distributor provided in subsection (3) above shall state the specific grounds for the refusal to approve the succession and that discontinuance of the agreement shall take effect not less than ninety days after the date the notice is served.

(5) If notice of refusal is not served within the sixty days provided for in subsection (3) of this section, the dealer agreement continues in effect and is subject to termination only as otherwise permitted by this article.

(6) This section does not preclude a new motor vehicle dealer from designating any person as his or her successor by will or any other written instrument filed with the manufacturer or distributor, and if such an instrument is filed, it alone determines the succession rights to the management and operation of the dealership.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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