Tiffin Motorhomes & Freightliner Sued Under California Lemon Law
San Diego, CA October 21, 2008 -- San Diego, California, Lemon Law attorney Doug Sohn announced today that he is representing a Southern California cancer patient and his wife in a Lemon Law lawsuit against Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, a Delaware corporation based in South Carolina. The Federal Court suit, Case No. 08 CV 0879 W WMc, filed in the Southern District of California, alleges that, among other things, the $200,000 motor home had defective brakes that failed, and had defective "slide-outs" and leveler jacks. Tiffin Motorhomes of Alabama is a co-defendant in the action.
"My client and his wife, both retired, bought this motor home so they could travel across the U.S., and get a break from the horrors of cancer and chemotherapy," explains Attorney Sohn.
My clients have owned this motor home for over two years, most of which was spent at various repair facilities.
Now it's sitting outside their house, unused because they're afraid to drive it. The only trip they've been able to take is the one that ended in the accident. In the meantime, they're paying over $1,000 a month for this thing. Now my client is back on chemotherapy, and he's lost his chance to travel.
According to court documents, the brakes failed on their very first trip, causing an accident. The front of the coach was demolished. It sat at Freightliner's repair facility for two months while the brakes were getting repaired. Neither defendant wanted to take responsibility for getting the accident damage repaired. Then more mechanical problems came up, and this coach spent another five months in the shop.
"My clients have owned this motor home for over two years, most of which was spent at various repair facilities," says Sohn. "Now it's sitting outside their house, unused because they're afraid to drive it. The only trip they've been able to take is the one that ended in the accident. In the meantime, they're paying over $1,000 a month for this thing. Now my client is back on chemotherapy, and he's lost his chance to travel."
According to court documents, the lawsuit was originally filed in November 2007 in San Diego Superior Court. The action is based on California's Song-Beverly Act, or "Lemon Law" and alleges that the defendants failed to repair the RV after a reasonable opportunity to do so. It also alleges that Freightliner and Tiffin both willfully failed to repurchase or replace the motor home when asked to do so.
California's Lemon Law is a consumer protection law. In order to encourage manufacturers to resolve cases early on, it includes a provision for a civil penalty (similar to punitive damages) in cases where it is shown that the manufacturer deliberately refused to comply with the law. According to court documents, before they even hired an attorney, the buyers tried to convince Freightliner to obey the law. Freightliner refused, forcing them to file suit. "They are aware that my client is being treated for cancer," says Sohn. "In an apparent attempt to delay the matter, they forced the case to be transferred from Superior Court to Federal Court. The stress that my clients are experiencing, between the lawsuit, chemotherapy and the delay in their case, is almost unbearable. Now, because of Freightliner's deliberate refusal to repurchase this RV, California law will require them buy it back and to pay a civil penalty of up to $400,000."