Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Plaintiff in Lemon Law Case Who Won Car In Raffle Properly Awarded $5,000—C.A.
Amount Encompassed Upgrades, Taxes, Fees He Paid
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday that a judge properly allowed a jury verdict for $5,000 to stand in a case where the plaintiff contended his $52,000 automobile was a “lemon” because he did not testify as to payments made by him in any greater sum than what was awarded.
Although the jury was not told that plaintiff Joseph Poulose won the automobile in a raffle, Poulose was unable to testify that he paid the ticket price of $51,812.05 for the vehicle.
In his action against Ford Motor Company and Vista Ford in Woodland Hills, Poulose argued that he should be allowed to return the automobile to the dealership and get its value, in cash.
The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian not to disturb the verdict was affirmed by Div. Five yesterday, in an opinion by a judge of that same court, Dorothy C. Kim, sitting on assignment. Kim has been appointed as a member of that panel, with the appointment awaiting confirmation.
“The jury verdict was not against the law. The verdict form provided to the jury required that if the jury found a breach of the implied warranty, it should calculate restitution. Restitution was defined for the jury as ‘the amount paid’ by plaintiff. The amount paid would also include any charges for transportation and manufacturer-installed options, and sales tax, use tax, license fees, registration fees, and other official fees. There were no instructions regarding cancellation or rescission of a sale contract.
“Plaintiff asserts that the only remedy was restitution of the full amount of the invoice, or $51,812.05. We disagree. Substantial evidence supports the jury award of restitution. The jury could reasonably infer from plaintiff’s testimony that he paid sales tax and registration and his silence regarding any other payments, that plaintiff had only paid sales tax and registration. This would make the conclusion that the amount paid was $5,000 consistent with [the]… instruction on restitution.”
The case is Poulose v. Ford Motor Co., B281693.
Representing Poulose were Hallen D. Rosner, Shay Dinata-Hanson and Arlyn L. Escalante of the San Diego firm of Rosner, Barry & Babbitt, and Lawrence J. Hutchens of downtown Los Angeles’s Hutchens & Hutchens. Ford’s lawyers were M. Kevin Underhill and Amir M. Nassihi of the San Francisco office of Shook Hardy & Bacon.
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