No harm despite foul? – Ramos v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, et al.

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act–commonly known as California’s “Lemon Law”–requires manufacturers of new motor vehicles to promptly replace or repurchase such vehicles if they suffer from defects that cannot be repaired within a reasonable number of repair opportunities. (Civ. Code § 1793.2(d)(2)(B).) Contrary to popular belief, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act imposes additional requirements on manufacturers and gives consumers causes of action for other violations as well. (Civ. Code § 1794(a).) For example, Civil Code section 1793.2(b) provides, “Unless the buyer agrees in writing to the contrary, the goods shall be serviced or repaired so as to conform to the applicable warranties within 30 days.”

In the case of Ramos v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, et al., the jury found Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (“MBUSA”), violated this very provision. In its post-trial motions, MBUSA contends this was error because, among other things, the consumer was not damaged by its failure to repair his vehicle’s steering defect within 30 days. It is MBUSA’s position that, although it left the plaintiff without his vehicle for 43 days, he was not harmed because he did not rent a car or incur any expenses for alternative forms of transportation.

There are many problems with MBUSA’s interpretation of the law. Namely, where the plaintiff has the option of simply borrowing her spouse’s car while her vehicle is out of service for warranty repairs, the manufacturer would face zero liability for dragging its feet in attempting repair. Meanwhile, the consumer and her spouse are stuck juggling their responsibilities using a single vehicle–perhaps because they simply cannot afford other means of transportation because they are still obligated to make their payments on the defective vehicle. How is the consumer not “damaged” in this case?

Auto Fraud Legal Center, has associated in with Strategic Legal Practices, APC, to assist in opposing MBUSA’s post-trial motions. Our Appellate Department is proud to defend consumer rights not only on appeal but also in law and motion and in post-trial motions, which may even set the stage for an subsequent appeal. If your firm is interested in our services, contact us today at