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ARTICLE ID 195545

$10 NOMINAL DAMAGES JUDGMENT – Contract – Plaintiffs allege that defendant auto manufacturer failed to honor its warranty on their new vehicle.

Litchfield County, CT

In this contract matter, the plaintiffs new car buyers allege that the defendant car manufacturer breached its warranty obligations by failing to correct transmission problems with their new ________ Ford Escape. The defendant denied the allegations, and disputed that there was any problem with the vehicle or its transmission.

The plaintiffs purchased a new ________ Ford Escape from one of the defendant’s authorized retailers on November 2, ________. The vehicle was equipped with an express new vehicle limited warranty which, in relevant part, applied to the transmission on the vehicle. Shortly after the plaintiffs got their vehicle back from the dealer for its routine service, consisting of an oil change, tire rotation and multi-point inspection – they allege that it began to lurch when the vehicle was shifted from neutral to drive. On June 2, ________, the plaintiffs returned the vehicle to the dealer for service on this issue. The mechanics at that service facility diagnosed internal concerns with the transmission, and disassembled it to further diagnose the cause. The mechanic found that a valve body was sticking, and that a center support snap ring had broken or come out of alignment. They consulted with the defendant on how to resolve the problem, and took the dealer 37 days to complete the repair. The vehicle was returned to the plaintiffs on July 7. Upon return of the vehicle, the plaintiffs noticed transmission fluid was leaking onto their driveway when the vehicle was parked. They returned the vehicle to the dealer with these complaints. The problem was addressed, and vehicle was returned to the plaintiffs on July 29, ________. On October 13, ________, the plaintiffs wrote to the defendant advising that they were seeking redress under the Lemon Law, stating that the vehicle failed to move when the accelerator was depressed and then suddenly lurched forward very quickly. The plaintiffs ultimately brought suit against the defendant alleging breach of implied warranty of merchantability, violation of Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, violation of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, as well as breach of express warranty.

The defendant denied the allegations and maintained that they could not discern any problem with the transmission or any substantiation to the plaintiff’s claims that there were metal shavings in the transmission fluid. The defendant denied any liability to the plaintiff, and disputed that they had breached warranties on the vehicle.The matter was tried before the court over a period of three days. At the conclusion of the trial, the court found for the defendant on all counts, except the violation of Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act. On that count, the court found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $10 in nominal damages.

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