JACKSON — A federal judge has set a deadline for settlement negotiations in a lawsuit between Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. and Deuce McAllister related to a car dealership the former New Orleans Saints star owned in Mississippi.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson set a telephone conference for Jan. 5 and said discovery will resume immediately if a settlement hasn’t been reached.
NMAC sued McAllister and Deuce McAllister Motors, LLC, in October 2009 in U.S. District Court in Jackson for more than $1.5 million, alleging the dealership defaulted on payments and exceeded credit limits.
In a counter claim, McAllister said Nissan knew he “was a young professional athlete inexperienced in the motor vehicle sales business” and did little to help his dealership succeed.
“We’re just trying to get it worked out. Everyone’s trying to get it worked out,” McAllister attorney Joe Roberts said of the settlement talks. He declined to comment further, saying that could be counterproductive to the ongoing discussions.
An attorney for NMAC, Chad Hammons, didn’t immediately respond to a message. NMAC spokesman Fred Standish has told The Associated Press the company doesn’t comment on litigation.
McAllister was a football star at the University of Mississippi and spent eight seasons as one of the Saints’ most popular players. He has invested heavily in his native Mississippi, including the Nissan business, a luxury car dealership and high-end real estate. McAllister also had a used-car business when he opened the Nissan store.
Deuce McAllister Nissan of Jackson ran into financial trouble. NMAC said in court records that it found problems with the dealership during its 2008 audit, then sent a monitor there and reinstated its credit. But, the lawsuit said, the dealership continued to sell cars and not pay NMAC back and the debts grew.
The dealership operated in Chapter 11 for a time and agreed to liquidate its remaining assets through Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May.
NMAC sued McAllister in U.S. District Court in Jackson, claiming the dealership defaulted on hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments in 2008 and exceeded its credit limits even more.
In his counter claim, McAllister said that rather than helping, NMAC withheld information that the dealership wouldn’t be profitable in the area and neglected to warn him that one of his partners had done business with a Nissan-related dealership before and “was unsuitable for the management position.” As a result of the failed business, McAllister’s counterclaim says he lost money and “incurred damage to his business relationships and reputation, and has suffered mental anguish and anxiety.”
McAllister’s countersuit seeks unspecified damages.