What would you do if your brand new car went to the shop 21 times in just a few years? For one Liblang Law Firm, PC, client, that red flag led to a winning lemon law lawsuit.
Buying a Reliable Car Backfires for Young Couple
A young man living in a rural part of Northern Michigan found out his wife had cancer. She would need to travel to Lansing and Wisconsin for treatments if she wanted to get better. With so much on the line, a new, reliable car seemed like a logical investment. When one Liblang Law Firm, PC, client got the bad news, he and his wife purchased a 2011 Hyundai Sonata so she could travel safely to and from her medical treatments.
But the car had a problem. It would pull sharply to one side making it painful for the young woman to keep it under control. The couple took the Hyundai to the dealer over and over to repair the problem. The dealership told them it was nothing, they just needed an alignment, or maybe to replace the tires. But every time the pulling problem would come back soon after.
Lemon Law Claim Goes to Court
That’s when the Liblang Law Firm, PC, got involved. Lemon law attorney Dani K. Liblang and her associate Alan Latham looked into the vehicle and the work history to find out what was really going on. The firm filed suit in Oakland County Circuit Court, but by the time of trial the car was 5 years old and had traveled over 94,000 miles. It appeared the vehicle was no longer worth the $25,000 minimum for a circuit court claim. The matter was transferred to the 46th District Court in Southfield, Michigan, where Judge Cynthia Arvant oversaw the contentious 6-day jury trial.
At trial, Attorney Dani K. Liblang cross-examined the Hyundai dealer’s expert witness about the pulling problem. He admitted that there were defects and that the alignment machine was set to the wrong specifications. His testimony revealed that Hyundai knew there was a problem, but instead of getting to the root cause, they simply tampered with the alignment specifications to mask the real issue and string the young couple along.
Jury Returns Big Verdict Against Hyundai
In most lemon law cases, a plaintiff can expect an award somewhere at or below the value of the car. But when the jury heard how Hyundai had deliberately side-stepped fixing the problem, it returned a verdict of $77,000. That amount was reduced to $25,000, the cap for damages at a Michigan district court. However, the judge also ordered Hyundai to pay the couple’s attorney fees and legal costs, which totaled over $137,000. That means the firm’s clients will be able to replace their car without worrying about the cost of litigation.