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Judge scales back lawsuit against Bountiful auto dealer

LAYTON (AP) — A judge has scaled back the suit alleging a Bountiful auto dealership bilked its salespeople out of millions of dollars.

"(The lawsuit is) real thin," said attorney Joel Dangerfield, representing defendant Wesley Johnson, general manager of Menlove Dodge-Toyota, adding that it will become "a lot thinner in the coming weeks."

Second District Judge Thomas Kay on Thursday refused to certify it as a class action, tossed out two causes of action and removed several defendants, saying there was no evidence linking them to the allegations.

Attorneys Martha Amundsen and Dana Heinzelman originally represented eight former Menlove salespeople, but one former employee has since dropped out.

The former employees allege Menlove withheld as much as $9 million in commissions from salespeople between 1989 and 1998.

The suit also alleges that sex and drugs were offered to staff as fringe benefits.

Allegations were about the only thing Heinzelman and Amundsen brought to court Thursday.

"Why don't you wait until you know the facts," Kay said. "All you have is they may be this, they may be that. They may be a hundred things. . . . Let's do it in the right order."

Kay removed three members of the Johnson family from the suit, including Johnson's mother. He also removed Menlove Holding, a company that leases a segment of the land the dealership uses.

Despite Thursday's setbacks, Amundsen said the lawsuit is still strong.

"It just means we have some more work to do," Amundsen said.