Brennan, Esq. of Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan APC in La Crescenta obtained a $75,000 verdict against Sunrise Ford of North Hollywood under California’s consumer fraud and consumer protection laws, for misrepresenting a collision-damaged car to an unsuspecting consumer, Deborah Leonhardt, who specifically inquired numerous times whether the car had been in an accident before agreeing to buy a 2010 Kia Forte.
The jury rendered its verdict on February 25, 2016 in Dept. 48 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, downtown Los Angeles courthouse. The jury included in its verdict a $50,000 assessment of punitive damages against Sunrise Ford for fraud.
Brennan has obtained numerous verdicts over the years against car dealers and car manufacturers for fraud and for violations of California’s “lemon law.”
“At trial, Sunrise Ford initially claimed in sworn documents that Deborah Leonhardt had probably caused the damage to the car, which was frame damage and which affected the car’s safety systems,” commented Brennan. “We had to subpoena the car’s history from Enterprise Rent-a-Car to show that the vehicle had been in a front-end collision and had then been sold at auction by Enterprise. The evidence at trial showed that the vehicle was then wholesaled to an unlicensed body shop for repairs. DMV documents showed that Sunrise Ford then bought the car from the unlicensed body shop and put it on the lot for unsuspecting consumers. Ms. Leonhardt testified that Sunrise told her that the car had been inspected, had a clean Carfax and was entirely collision-free.”
According to court records, Sunrise Ford also claimed at trial that the collision damage was so well concealed that it did not know about the vehicle’s collision history. “I had to put on evidence from automotive experts that there were numerous ‘red flags’ that should have, and probably did, alert the dealership to the collision damage on the car. Yes, it is true that sometimes collision damage can be repaired very well, but when representing the history of a used car, Sunrise Ford’s own expert witness admitted in testimony that dealerships should respond, ‘I don’t know,’ when asked whether a car has been in any kind of an accident. Here, the accident was more serious because it involved the frame and structural components of the vehicle, which meant that the car may well not have been safe in a future collision.”