Auto Defense

Award for Defense – Arbitration

Customer claimed dealer failed to disclose vehicle’s prior accident. Prior to filing the action, in response to customer’s CLRA demand letter, dealer offered to repurchase vehicle and waive mileage. Arbitrator found dealer’s response/offer sufficient under the CLRA, barring customer from recovering damages against the dealer, and awarded dealer $30,731.50 in attorneys’ fees and costs of defending action.

Judgment for Defense after Bench Trial

After trial, the court entered judgment in favor of dealer, on the basis that the third party advertisement viewed by customer was not authorized by dealer and thus could not bind dealer. The court further ruled that dealer’s CLRA response/offer to repurchase with waiver of mileage was a sufficient remedy, barring customer from recovering damages against dealer. The court awarded dealer $2,719.25 in court costs against customer.

Award for Defense – Arbitration

Customer claimed dealer failed to disclose vehicle’s prior accident and resulting damage. Dealer disclosed vehicle’s frame/unibody damage prior to purchase; however, the CarFax did not indicate any accidents. Customer claimed Dealer should have provided an AutoCheck, which disclosed the auction announcement of frame/unibody damage. Experts testified on both sides. Arbitrator issued award in favor of Dealer on basis that prior damage was minimal, was repaired, and properly disclosed.

Successful Outcome for Defense – Arbitration

Arbitrator decided in favor of customer because dealer was aware of vehicle’s frame/unibody damage given an auction announcement, yet fail to disclose the same, and because dealer sold the vehicle above the advertised price and refused to refund overcharged license fees. Customer was awarded $8,095.00 against the dealer, which was based on the true value of the vehicle at the time of purchase; however, arbitrator decided in favor of dealer on customer’s request for attorneys’ fees and dealer ultimately paid less by way of the award than it would have had the customer accepted dealer’s initial CLRA offer.

Award for Defense – Arbitration

Prior to evidentiary hearing, arbitrator granted dealer’s dispositive motion, determining dealer’s CLRA response, offering to repurchase vehicle and waive mileage, an appropriate remedy under the CLRA, such that customer was barred from recovering any damages against the dealer.

Ruling in Favor of Defense on Motion for Attorneys’ Fees, After Settlement

Dealer and customer entered a settlement, whereby dealer would repurchase vehicle with waiver of mileage and lender would refund finance payments made by customer, and the issue of attorneys’ fees and costs would be decided by the court. Customer filed motion, requesting $182,273.93 in attorneys’ fees and costs. Court denied customer’s motion on the basis that dealer’s CLRA response offered an appropriate remedy, such that the case should have been resolved before the lawsuit was filed, and thus attorneys’ fees were not reasonably incurred.

Judgment for Bond Company

While this case is currently pending trial, early in the litigation, motion on behalf of the bond company was filed on the basis that the fraud complained of by customer was not the result of any written representation in the purchase documents, but rather, the alleged fraud was supported by allegations of oral statements by dealer’s employees, and thus the customer was barred from pursuing a claim against the bond. This outcome not only preserved the bond and dealer’s standing with its bond company, but also applied pressure to plaintiff’s attorney because he could no longer rely on any attorneys’ fees judgment being immediately paid up to the amount of the bond. At the conclusion of the litigation, bond will be entitled to its court costs against customer.