A circuit judge in Birmingham has denied a car dealer's motion seeking dismissal of a lawsuit that accuses him of misleading the buyers about the condition of the cars they bought.
The car dealer attempted to get the dismissal by arguing that because the buyers are undocumented immigrants, the sales agreement between them and his dealership was invalid under Alabama's new immigration law.
But in a test of the controversial law, Circuit Judge Scott Vowell ruled Monday that the dealer can't use the law for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by men identified as undocumented immigrants.
Vowell ruled that a section in the law, known as HB 56, banning contracts with undocumented immigrants conflicts with the Alabama Constitution of 1901, which bars laws that interfere with existing contracts.
Vowell didn't rule the section is unconstitutional, saying that it wasn't up to him to decide the broader issue.
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The lawsuit was filed last year by two men who said they were misled about the condition of cars they bought. They were awarded $3,400 and $5,200, respectively.
Alabama's law is the strictest state-level immigration measure in the country. Parts of it have been blocked from implementation as a federal court considers a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice that argues that immigration is a federal matter and that states cannot draft and implement their own laws on the issue.
Officials in Alabama, as well as other states that have passed immigration laws, counter that the federal government's inaction on illegal immigration has forced states to take matters into their own hands.
This is based on a story by The Associated Press.