GM Loses Georgia Lemon Law Hearing, Takes Victorious Owner to Court
An owner of a 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon that won a lemon law case against General Motors is now on the receiving end of GM’s legal department.
According to WSB-TV in Georgia, the vehicle’s owner, Patrick Morse, won his lemon-law case in 2014. General Motors, instead of abiding by the arbiter’s ruling, is leveraging a little-known law to appeal the ruling in the courts. The appeal process has left Morse with a troublesome car for the last two years — and there’s a possibility it could continue for years to come.
Morse’s vehicular issues began just days after he purchased the Cadillac.
“I bought the car on a Friday, and it was seen in the dealership Monday when it would not start,” Morse told investigative reporter Jim Strickland. “It’s averaging at least one visit per month to the dealership since I’ve owned it.”
After numerous visits, Morse, representing himself, took GM to the lemon law arbitration board — and won. Now General Motors is appealing that decision in the courts.
Victories are most often won by complainants in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Law. General Motors has appealed those victories more than any other automaker since 2014.
Morse must now hire a lawyer to represent him in court to keep in place the original ruling. Even if Morse wins in court, General Motors could keep the legal lemons rolling, says lemon-law expert Alex Simanovsky.
“My concern for Mr. Morse is if we win in Forsyth County, they may appeal to the court of appeals and it may go on,” Simanovsky told WSB-TV.
Correction: The original headline stated GM is suing Patrick Morse, but it’s actually appealing the decision by the lemon law arbitration board. We’ve updated the headline to better reflect this. [h/t Gary Gastelu]
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Without passing on the validity of this guy's claim.... Car dealers, and Car makers, are a very hard target, legally. They have limitless money and time. You have a big investment that doesn't work, a job you have to work, and at this point, some mis-handling by a franchisee. You want this fixed correctly now...and they don't care. They know that x percent of the cars have defects. No matter how hard you try, you will sell a few lemons...and conversely, there are folks who got Olds Diesels and Chevy Vegas that ran perfectly.... The other problem is that the car is used...and the company will always blame the owner for the result. Attorney's letters don't scare car dealers..the only real leverage you have is, if right after sale, you can get them to rescind (before making a payment) and bring the lender in....Dealers don't want problems with the lender. Their attorneys are already on retainer, so there is zero cost to run you into the ground. You won't find contingency for these cases, so the fight tends to be limited to folks who already have money...you'll get more blowback from Caddy, BMW and Audi buyers than cheap car buyers. Those cases get a cost no object defense from the Car makers/dealers, because they don't want anyone to set a precedent. The next time someone proposes raising the small claims limits in your area, note who will come out against it...the insurance companies, and your local car dealers, through a trade organization. The LAST thing they want is local folk before a local judge in a user friendly forum. Keeping small claims low allows a lot of nonsense to occur as things over small claim have to go to a higher court...with higher costs and attorney required.
The writer/editor's knowledge of the law seems to match GM's knowledge of engineering. You don't "take someone to court" if you appeal an arbiter's decision.