Case Summary: Earl Robert Thompson v. Kia Motors America, Inc.; Case No . CL-12001075, Circuit Court of Stafford County, Virginia; Verdict July 30, 2014
This is a Virginia Lemon Law/ Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act case filed due to this vehicle's numerous defects, which Kia could not fix in a reasonable period of time. The defects caused the plaintiff to stop driving the vehicle, since he lost confidence in it and did not feel safe driving it. He was afraid it would cut off on him while driving as it had previously done.
The Lemon Law provides that, unless the vehicle has already been inspected by the manufacturer, the consumer must give the manufacturer written notice of the nonconformity in writing, and that the manufacturer has 15 days to make this final repair attempt. One issue in this case was whether this 15 days "final repair attempt" begins to run upon receipt of the written letter by the manufacturer, or if it simply means that the manufacturer has 15 days to repair once it gets around to offering another repair attempt. At trial it was discovered that a Kia factory rep had actually inspected and suggested repairs prior to the letter being written, so plaintiff argued that this constituted notice which the defendant took advantage of, but the problems were never corrected.
At trial the court dismissed the Mag-Moss count on a motion to strike. Jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff for the full purchase price, expert fees, title taxes and tags, cost of substitute transportation, and likely gave Kia credit for mileage up the first notice of the problem to the dealer. The verdict is close to what was demanded at trial, but a little less. How it was arrived at is unknown. Verdict: $29,168.20
The parties had agreed to submit the question of what legal fees to award to the court after the trial if Kia was found to have violated the Lemon Law, if they could not agree on an appropriate amount. The parties agreed to legal fees to plaintiff's attorney for $31,500.00.