California Lemon Law’s Fee Shifting Levels the Playing Field Between Consumers Stuck With a Lemon and Large Multinational Automakers

The California Lemon Law allows consumers who successfully sue to recover as damages the price “paid or payable” for the subject vehicle, subject to an offset in favor of the auto manufacturer for plaintiffs’ use of the vehicle prior to first defect.  Plaintiffs may also recover for violations of express warranty civil...
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Courts Must Not Consider Contingency Amounts in Deciding What MFG Must Pay for Attorney’s Fees in California Lemon Law Fee Shifting Cases

The appellate court in Reynolds v. Ford Motor Company, --- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, 2020 WL 1921742, made it absolutely clear:  Courts cannot consider the contingency fee when making statutory fee awards under the California Lemon Law fee shifting provisions.  Trial court judges have no discretion to reduce or deny statutory fee awards based on a...
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Automakers Have an Affirmative Duty under California Lemon Law to Repurchase Lemons without a Call from the Consumer

In 1995, the Krotin v. Porsche Cars North America, Inc., 38 Cal.App.4th 294 court clarified how the California Lemon Law is supposed to work.  In rejecting a jury instruction putting an unwarranted burden on California consumers to reject or revoke acceptance of the vehicle to obtain California Lemon Law remedies, the court held that...
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Can Consumers Recover Emotional Distress Damages under the California Lemon Law?

The California Lemon Law (Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act) provides specific remedies and damages to California consumers, including restitution (refund) and civil penalties.  Despite the harrowing experiences and frustrations unrepaired defects in cars cause, as a general rule, damages strictly for emotional distress are not recoverable under the California Lemon Law. (Kwan...
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Automakers Who Fail To Review Their Own Warranty Records Can Be Subject To Civil Penalties Under California’s Lemon Law

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (“Act”), known as the California Lemon Law, is one of the most pro-consumer pieces of legislation on California’s books today. In Kwan v. Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc., (1994) 23 Cal. App. 4th 174, the court re-emphasized the importance of civil penalties to maintain the protective purpose of...
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What Does Willful Mean Under The California Lemon Law?

According to the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, California’s lemon law, a buyer can recover civil penalties if the manufacturer willfully violated the Ac In this context, “willful” means the manufacturer “knew of its legal obligations and intentionally declined to follow them.” This means that the manufacturer knew what it was doing and intended to...
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What Is the Civil Penalty under the California Lemon Law?

The civil penalty is amount of damages in addition to a buyer’s actual, incidental, and consequential damages.  Civil Penalties are meant to punish or deter a manufacturer  or distributor from future violations of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, California’s Lemon Law.

 A buyer can recover the civil penalty if they can establish...
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