UPDATE – YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE POSSESSION OF THE VEHICLE TO QUALIFY FOR CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW REMEDIES
In a previous post, it was noted that a California appeals court held in Martinez v. Kia Motors America, Inc. that the California Lemon Law does not require a California consumer to have possession of the vehicle to qualify for the California Lemon Law restitution (repurchase) remedy. The case was appealed to the California Supreme Court by Kia. In addition, the automobile manufacturers requested that the Supreme Court depubish the Matinez opinion. If the opinion were to be depublished, it would no longer establish legal precedence nor would it be binding legal authority in relation to the California Lemon Law. This office, via letter, requested that the California Supreme Court not depublish the Martinez opinion because it was properly decided. Good news! The California Supreme Court refused to accept the case for appeal and refused to depublish the opinion. As such, Martinez is now binding legal authority. This opinion is extremely important for California consumers. This is so because manufacturers will not be able to delay providing a consumer with a California Lemon Law restitution (repurchase) remedy in hopes that the consumer will get rid of the vehicle thereby extinguishing his/her California Lemon Law restitution right. If you believe you may have, or have had, a lemon vehicle, give us a call and we will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
Honda has major problems with its Civic Hybrids. In fact, in 2009 Honda attempted to enter into a class action lawsuit settlement concerning its 2003 to 2008 Civic Hybrids. However, the judge would not approve the settlement. The main problem with these Civic Hybrids is they get nowhere near the estimated fuel mileage. The estimates are in the 50 MPG range and owners have reported getting in the 30 MGP range. This substantial difference in fuel mileage estimates and actual fuel mileages is too huge to be blamed on “driving characteristics.” With fuel prices once again surging, this 20 MPG difference between the estimates and reality means hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in extra fuel costs for Honda Hybrid owners. Although the class action settlement was not approved, the good news is that Honda Hybrid owners may have rights under the California Lemon Law. Contact one of our California Lemon Law attorneys for a free consultation.
On March, 2, 2011, the Forth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal ruled in Martinez v. Kia Motors America, Inc.that the Califonia Lemon Law (Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act) does not require California consumers to have possession of a lemon vehicle in order to qualify for California Lemon Law remedies. In Martinez, the consumer was denied warranty coverage by a Kia. The vehicle was repossessed by the lender and the consumer thereafter filed a lawsuit against Kia claiming restitution remedies under the California Lemon Law. Kia argued on appeal that in order to qualify for California Lemon Law restitution remedies, the consumer must have possession of the vehicle. The court disagreed observing that the specific language of the California Lemon Law does not require that a California consumer have possession of the lemon vehicle in order to qualify for California Lemon Law remedies. The consumer need only prove the basic elements of a California Lemon Law claim in order to be entitled to damages. Once the basic California Lemon Law claim elements are met, the manufacturer has an immediate duty to provide the consumer California Lemon Law remedies. Therefore, any California consumer who does not have possession of a lemon vehicle may nevertheless be entitled to California Lemon Law damages.
One category of California Lemon Law cases that our California Lemon Law law firm handles is warranty denial cases. Warranty denial is when a manufacturer refuses to repair a vehicle under warranty even though the warranty is still in effect. The main reasons for warranty denial are – lack of vehicle maintenance; modifications to the vehicle; adding after-market accessories to the vehicle; using the vehicle in an abusive way. One should always maintain the vehicle according to the vehicle’s maintenance schedule and keep detailed records of the maintenance. If the maintenance is performed at an auto repair shop, keep the repair orders and invoices as proof of maintenance. If one performs the maintenance them self, keep receipts for oil, filters and other maintenance items. Keep notes of the date the maintenance was performed, the odometer mileage when the maintenance was performed and what specifically was done to the vehicle. As for modifications and after-market items, the best way to avoid warranty denial is to not modify the vehicle or add after-market items. And of course to avoid warranty denial based upon abuse one should use the vehicle in a reasonable manner.
If the manufacturer does deny warranty coverage, the California Lemon Law requires that the manufacturer prove the lack of maintenance, modification, after-market accessory or abuse caused the problem that needs repair. In most cases, it is very difficult for the manufacturer to prove a problem is caused by lack of maintenance, modification, after-market accessory or abuse. As such, if one finds them self in a warranty denial situation, there is a good chance the manufacturer will have to cover the problem under warranty. If you believe you have been wrongfully denied warranty coverage, give us a call and one of our California Lemon Law attorneys would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
One of the worst problems our California Lemon Law law firm has seen in recent years is the defective BMW high pressure fuel pump found in the BMW 335i and BMW 535i models equipped with the N54 engine. The defective high pressure fuel pump can cause extremely dangerous situations for drivers and passengers of these vehicles. For example, these defective fuel pumps can cause the engines to shut down, have loss of power, not start and generally run poorly. BMW of North America, Inc. is fully aware of the defects in these high pressure fuel pumps. If you purchased one of these vehicles in California and are having problems with the vehicle’s engine, you may be entitled to relief under the California Lemon Law.