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Tesla’s fight with Michigan over direct-to-consumer car sales took a step forward this week. On Monday, US Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody ordered Michigan State Senator Joe Hune and State Representative Jason Sheppard to comply with a subpoena related to protectionist legislation passed in the state in 2014.
Both sides must now agree on relevant search terms, and the lawmakers will have to hand over any records of communication with “non-legislative third parties, such as lobbyists and constituents.” Tesla is seeking these records to prove that it is being discriminated against as an out-of-state company.
Hune and Sheppard had attempted to have Tesla’s subpoena quashed, in part because they claim their communications ought to be privileged thanks to their positions as legislators.

But the Judge was not particularly sympathetic to that argument.

As a concession to keeping the lawmakers’ communications private, the documents will not be made public, and the court will review any disputes over relevance behind closed doors.
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