Guillermo v. Kia Motors (Los Angeles, California)
Fabian Guillermo claimed that his brand new 2006 Kia Sorrento began malfunctioning immediately after he purchased the car from the dealership, and he requested that the company replace the car. When Kia refused, Mr. Guillermo sue Kia under California's Lemon Law.
Julian Senior (O’Hagan Spencer LLP), representing Kia Motors America, Inc., suggested that the Mr. Guillermo's claim was merely a cover for buyers’ remorse. According to Mr. Senior, nothing was wrong with the car, and that Mr. Guillermo was unable to find a specific fault that met the Lemon Law's stric procedural requirements. “This is a case of buyers’ remorse. This is a case where the witness testified specifically on the stand that within 11 days of him…buying this car, he was back at the dealership complaining about a problem,” Senior said.
Brian Cline (Bickel Law Firm), representing the plaintiff, countered that if it were a mere cover for buyer’s remorse, it would be strange to request that Kia repurchase the vehicle and sell him a new one, rather than refund Guillermo’s money. Further, Mr. Cline argued something was in fact wrong with the car, as evidenced by multiple service invoices and receipts for replaced parts and work done, by both the dealership and a local mechanic, all of which failed to eliminate stalling, electrical problems, and a problem with the drive shaft. “The facts of this case as you’ve heard them…require that Mr. Guillermo’s vehicle be repurchased,” Cline said. “They gave him the runaround. They said go to the dealer, the dealer said go to Kia, Kia said go back to the dealer. He asked for a repurchase … they didn’t even check the car.”
The jury decided in favor of the defense, finding that there was no particular and substantial defect in the vehicle that substantially impaired its use, value, or safety.