Last Updated: March 2020
Consumers May Bring Lemon Law Cases Even If They No Longer Own the Vehicle
About ten months ago, the California Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District made a landmark ruling in the case of Juanita Martinez v. Kia Motors America, Inc. The Court ruled that the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (the California Lemon Law) does not require that the consumer maintain possession of the vehicle in order to seek relief under the lemon law. Juanita Martinez purchased a new Kia Sedona and the vehicle required several engine related repairs under warranty for the same defect. The last time she brought the vehicle to a Kia dealership to be repaired, Kia refused to repair the vehicle under the warranty. Juanita Martinez could not afford to pay for the repairs, so she left the vehicle with the dealership and stopped making the monthly payments. The vehicle was subsequently repossessed and the lender had another Kia dealership take a look at the defect. This dealership repaired the vehicle under the warranty. The Court ruled that the California Lemon Law is meant to help consumers and to force consumers to hold onto a defective vehicle goes against the intent of the law. This means that if your vehicle was so defective, dangerous, or undriveable, that you either let it become repossessed, or you turned it in at the end of a lease, or you have sold the vehicle, you can still bring a lemon law case!