Sale Of Vehicle – Consumer Protection Act

Injuries alleged: Monetary

Name of case: Dennis v. Show Down – 100 Proof Power boats,

Court/case no.: 41-B District Court, #95-5013-CT

Name of judge: William H. Cannon

Jury demand: Yes

Damages awarded: Verdict of $4,920; judgment entered for $22,275.62

Date: Aug.28, 1996

Attorney for the plaintiff: Steve Lehto

Attorney for the defendant: Withheld

Name/city of most helpful experts: Francis X. O’Brien Jr. (Ferndale), expert master mechanic; James “Grumpy” Barocio (Hazel Park), expert engine builder

Highest offer: 0

Other useful information:

The plaintiff bought a used 1987 suburban from the defendant. A week later, the engine failed. Her mechanics (O’Brien and Barocio) told her, and testified, that the engine appeared to have been doctored to mask a severe engine defect. The plaintiff sued the defendant for I the cost of repairs, the engine and the towing bill.

At trial, testimony differed on whether the plaintiff test drove the vehicle once or twice. Plaintiff’s counsel argued to the jury that the defendant and its employees invented and orchestrated the story regarding the second inspection. In rebuttal, the plaintiff produced time I sheets proving she could not have taken the second test drive and plaintiff’s counsel referred to defendants employees as liars in closing. The jury returned a verdict of $4,920. The defendant had rejected a mediation of $5,000, which the plaintiff had accepted. The judge awarded $11,250.62 in statutory fees under the Consumer Protection Act, MCL 445.911, and $6,080 in mediation sanctions. The defendant is asking for jnov or a new trial.