Our firm has been specializing in the handling of lemon law cases for over 25 years.  For most people, the term “lemon law” probably connotes a defective car, but over the years we have seen a lot more lemons than that: there are also lemon boats, Recreational Vehicles (RVs), fifth wheels and motorcycles, to name a few. Unlike cars, generally when RVs go bad they manifest a long “hit list” of defects that the owner notes down on paper and gives to the RV dealership to fix. And unlike cars, RVs can often take months to repair. On occasion the hit list may be so long that the dealership will try to make some of the repairs, then ask the owner to pick up their unit and bring it back sometime later so they can continue working on it.  

Very recently we settled an RV case involving a “Fifth Wheel” to a very good result.  (A Fifth Wheel is a towable RV that needs to be coupled to a second vehicle, such as a powerful pickup truck, to pull it.)  Our client and his family loved the great outdoors and were eager to see the country in their brand-new new trailer. They traveled from California to the Michigan to purchase the Fifth Wheel only to find that it was not ready for pick up due to uncorrected manufacturing defects. So began their ill-starred odyssey. Suffice it to say that one disaster led to another because of their first-class lemon. Our client’s dreams were dashed and, in the end, they were rarely able to use the Fifth Wheel, in spite of and even because of the extensive repairs.  

In this case, the defective coupling was the most serious problem. We hired an expert who detected several major issues.  The king pin kept bending. The welding of the hitch to the frame was poorly done and was broken. Bolts became loose when the Fifth Wheel moved at an angle. Part of the unit’s front fiberglass panel was cracked. In short, the problems were so serious that a local RV dealership had already refused to touch the unit and informed our client that it was far too unsafe to put on the road.

Fortunately, after a hard-fought battle the defendants were forced to confront the facts and the case settled in mediation.  As John Adams noted long ago, facts are stubborn things. 

Copyright © 2019 by Robert F. Brennan.  All rights reserved.

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