Riverside County (Murrieta) Jury Finds FCA Committed Fraud and Awards $137,238.75, including 2x Civil Penalty for Defective 2011 Dodge Durango under California Lemon Law
Our client Ricardo C. purchased a 2011 Dodge Durango to be his family’s primary vehicle. The Durango was equipped with a Totally Integrated Power Module (“TIPM”). Ricardo purchased the 2011 Durango, relying on FCA’s promises that the vehicle was safe and reliable. Within the first year of ownership, issues began. Over the next seven years, the Durango experienced a myriad of issues due to the defective TIPM, causing problems from premature turn signal bulb failure to engine stall while driving. Ricardo C. brought the Durango to FCA’s dealerships ten times, but FCA was unable to fix the Durango even after replacing the TIPM. Ricardo C. called FCA and requested a buyback, but FCA refused.
Ricardo C. opted out of the Velasco, et al. v. Chrysler Group LLC, a class action lawsuit brought by owners of TIPM-equipped vehicles alleging FCA knew the TIPM was defective but did not inform consumers. Ricardo C. hired counsel and filed suit against FCA alleging FCA violated the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (California Lemon Law) and fraudulent concealment about the TIPM. The case went to trial in Riverside County Superior Court in Murrieta, where Ricardo C. was represented by California Lemon Law trial attorneys Richard Wirtz and Amy Rotman of Wirtz Law APC. After a weeks-long trial, in less than an hour of deliberations, the jury unanimously award Ricardo C. with the maximum damages awardable under the California Lemon Law: repurchase and a two-time civil penalty for a total of $137,238.75, plus FCA was ordered to pay plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs. Not only did the jury find that FCA had willfully violated the California Lemon Law, but it also found FCA committed fraud against Ricardo C. by concealing what it knew about the TIPM’s defects before Ricardo C.’s purchase, the first “TIPM’ fraud verdict against FCA in the the United States.
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