No, Florida's Lemon Law Ruling Probably Won't Be a Big Deal

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

A Florida Lemon Law board ruled this week that Volkswagen would have to pay an 86-year-old man $15,000 for his illegally polluting diesel, WPTV reported.

The man’s Volkswagen — which VW lawyers unsuccessfully argued wasn’t a lemon because it still ran and drove — could prompt others to file similar lemon law claims against the automaker, but may fall short of sparking a grassroots buy-back campaign in other states.

“A Florida Court order isn’t binding on any other state but can be ‘persuasive authority,’” Colorado Lemon Law attorney Rick Wynkoop said. Florida’s Lemon Law process is pretty unique because it requires an arbiter’s ruling first, but can be appealed in court.

“An arbiter’s order has next-to-zero weight. I’m not joking when I tell you that arbiters are not required to follow the law,” Wynkoop added.

Wynkoop said that he hadn’t yet read the Florida order, but that it would be tough to unilaterally apply the ruling to other cases. Even in Florida, a different board turned down another owner’s request to have Volkswagen buy back a car , according to WPTV.

So, the Florida board’s ruling may not have much weight beyond its four walls, but at least progress is progress. Right?

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9 of 14 comments
  • Gasser Gasser on Jan 22, 2016

    VW has seriously underestimated the "death by a thousand cuts" that is the USA's legal system They will save $ by leaving now and not coming back.

    • See 4 previous
    • ExPatBrit ExPatBrit on Jan 23, 2016

      @bumpy ii They probably would have to pull all vehicles not just diesels. What about Bentley, Lamborghini, Ducati,Bugatti. Once they did that it wouldn't be very economic to supply Canada either.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Jan 22, 2016

    When this scandal first broke I predicted that it would become the mother of all Lemon Laws cases. Seems like first blood has been drawn. Normally I might feel sorry for a company caught in our legal system, but in this case VW created the problem and is completely bungling their response. Large German corporations have earned a reputation for unbelievable arrogance.

  • Chicago Dude Chicago Dude on Jan 24, 2016

    When you buy just about anything these days, you sign an agreement saying you will settle disputes through arbitration instead of the courts. This is what can happen. It would have been a lot cheaper for VW if the guy had sued instead.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 25, 2016

    I think Judy there has always been an arbitrator. I'm not sure how she gets away with applying the title of Judge to herself - unless she's changed her first name to be Judge.