By BOB BYERSMAN and CHRISTOPHER N. BROWNThe Detroit Free PressA Michigan judge on Thursday rejected an attempt by Tesla Motors Inc. to have its wall charger on display in a Detroit movie theater.
The judge ruled that Tesla’s attempt to put the wall charger in a movie theater was “not entitled to the full protection of the First Amendment.”
The judge, who had heard the case from attorneys for the Detroit movie house and Tesla, ruled that the movie theater had a right to put up the charger in public and that the theater could put up signage showing the charger on its premises.
Tesla attorney John Egan argued that the Michigan courts had already ruled that such displays do not violate the First and Fourth Amendments.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his company’s wall chargers can go off if an electric vehicle is chargingIn court documents, Tesla argued that it should be able to show the charging device in public because it has an expectation that the public will see it.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the case is part of a larger battle over the future of electric cars.
A Tesla lawsuit filed in California last year accused the company of infringing on the California public’s right to know about charging stations, as well as on state laws banning “federal-mandated” public displays of a charger.
Tesla and the movie studio have been embroiled in a legal battle over charging stations in Michigan and other states.
Tesla said in court filings in December that it is not required to display its charging devices in the theater.
A judge in December also rejected Tesla’s request to have the wall charging in its facility.
Tesla was sued by the movie house over its charging stations for violating the California Public Utilities Commission’s rules banning displays of chargers.
Tesla argued in the Michigan court that the company has a right not to be forced to place a wall charger anywhere in the state.
Tesla also argued that a movie studio should not be forced, in a lawsuit filed last year in California, to display charging stations at its Hollywood Studios production facilities.
Tesla is a major player in the auto industry.
Its cars, which range in price from about $70,000 to $150,000, are now widely available in some markets.
Tesla’s Wall Street-friendly CEO, Elon Musk, has also said that his company will continue to be the best battery electric vehicle dealer in the world, even as other automakers such as Nissan Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have taken steps to bring charging stations to their vehicles.
Tesla has been hit with a number of lawsuits in the last few years over its battery charging systems.
In September, a federal judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit by a man who alleged he was harmed by Tesla charging stations.
In another lawsuit, a judge said Tesla’s charging stations were unlawful in Florida.