A Loss for BMW, a Victory for California’s Lemon Law

Categories: Lemon Law

A Loss for Bmw, a Victory for California's Lemon Law

BMW lost a lemon law case in Los Angeles last month that was a victory for the California lemon law that protects consumers against new vehicles with constant repair and reliability problems.

In the lemon law case, Joe Ruiz Sr. filed a lawsuit against BMW in 2015 for breach of implied warranty, as well as breach of express warranty under the state’s lemon law. Ruiz purchased a 2014 BMW 428i in 2014 that they said started having problems after purchase, including vehicle shaking, service lights coming on and fuel gauge problems. Ruiz claimed he requested BMW buy back the car, as the law requires. But BMW declined to repurchase the car until it stopped in the middle of a busy highway.

A jury found in favor of Ruiz in January for the amount of $170,000. They determined that BMW had breached the warranty by not promptly buying back the car, and by providing an inaccurate mileage deduction when it was repurchased. Ruiz was awarded twice the amount in damages for civil penalties, as the jury found that BMW had done this in a willful manner.

BMW objected, stating that double civil penalties were excessive because the jury was biased against the company. BMW also filed an objection to the plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees. The company claimed that the case had been over-litigated and that the fees were excessive.

BMW filed a motion for a retrial that alleged excessive awards in the lemon law case. But this motion was denied in May in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The judge on the lemon law case wrote a court order denying the motion for retrial and granting in part and denying in part the motion for attorney’s costs and fees. The court ended up striking $4,450 from the attorney’s fees award that it found were duplicate fees. Also, billable hours that were entered by one attorney for the plaintiff included a trial and conference he did not attend.

The court also denied a motion for Ruiz to receive prejudgment costs, noting that he did not provide sufficient evidence in an itemized statement for his costs. The judge noted that he could not figure out what the prejudgment costs were from the stack of receipts submitted in support of the lemon law application.

This California lemon law case was clearly a victory for a plaintiff who had major reliability and safety problems with a new BMW. The lemon law is in place to ensure that consumers with new vehicles under warranty can be fairly compensated if they have serious, safety-related problems with their car under warranty.

Lemon Law Attorneys for Southern Californians

Do you have a new vehicle that is still under the original factory warranty that has regular repair problems? You may have a lemon vehicle. You may need the assistance of a southern California lemon law attorney. Neale & Fhima can help you to settle your lemon law claim for as much money as possible. Please contact our law offices today for a complimentary consultation.