Cleveland, OH -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/08/2010 -- A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge has entered summary judgment in favor of National Cart Mart, Inc. ruling that without evidence, a used automobile dealer cannot be held to have known or should have known of past damage to a used vehicle. National Car Mart, Inc. was represented by Attorneys Thomas A. Barni and Jason D. Hochman, Business Litigation Attorneys from the Corporate Law Firm of Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC.
The case involved a lawsuit filed against National Car Mart, Inc. that sought damages arising from the sale of a 2005 Lexus RX330 based upon alleged violations of the Ohio CSPA and Common Law Fraud. The basis of the claim was that National Car Mart, Inc. knew or should have known of alleged prior damage to the vehicle, which was not proven by the Plaintiff.
A consumer who prevails in an action under the CSPA generally may choose from two remedies. First, the consumer may elect to “rescind” the transaction or undo the contract and thus surrender the goods or materials sold and obtain a full return of the purchase price. Alternatively, the consumer may recover his or her actual, provable damages caused by the violation. For example, the consumer could recover the cost of repairing or replacing the goods or materials. In certain cases, the consumer may recover “treble,” or three times, the actual damages incurred. This provision of the CSPA applies where it is shown that the act complained of had already been specifically prohibited by an Attorney General regulation or by a previous court decision. The consumer may also be awarded his or her reasonable attorney’s fees if it is shown that the supplier knowingly committed an act that violates the CSPA.
The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court ruled that National Car Mart, Inc. did not violate the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act or commit common law fraud. The Court held that because both plaintiff and National Car Mart, Inc. reviewed a CarFax report that showed no prior damages, which was never rebutted by Plaintiff, no violation of the Ohio CPSA occurred.
“We are pleased with the Court’s ruling, but unfortunately we do not believe this is an isolated case,” said Barni. “Without an expert in consumer law fighting for them, Ohio automobile dealers can be easily intimidated when subjected to these types of baseless allegations due to the penalties permitted under the Ohio CSPA.”
Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC’s Business Litigation Team has experience in handling Ohio CSPA matters. We can assist in the development of procedures and practices that will help automobiles dealers and other established businesses reduce the risk of the CSPA, and that will limit a seller’s liability for potential violations of the CSPA. We can also assist in the defense of any claimed violations of the CSPA.