Lemon Law Cases From the Defense’s Perspective
As someone who has worked on lemon law cases in-house for a manufacturer, who worked on them as a defense attorney for a successful law firm, who now works on them as a consumer’s attorney, and having been a disappointed consumer of products myself, I understand the various perspectives on lemon law.
Everyone is an individual, and they have their own opinions. With that said, there are some generalizations about lemon law cases and defective product compensation that emerge, particularly among lawyers who advise manufacturers on defending lemon law cases.
Lemon Law Favors Consumers
Lawyers that defend lemon law claims are in an awkward position. The law is powerfully consumer-oriented. If you have repeat repair attempts for a substantial problem with a vehicle or another costly product that is covered by warranty, it rarely makes sense to litigate. Defense attorneys want to bring their manufacturer clients good news, and if a case is assigned to them for defense, they naturally want to find a way to win it.
Yet, they usually have to recommend a settlement — and often a buyback of the problematic product — to the manufacturer. It can be frustrating as a litigator to always feel like you have a losing position and need to recommend that your client makes a maximum settlement offer for defective product compensation.
Sometimes, the defense is left trying to chip away at repurchase settlements, such as by arguing over the appropriate reasonable use deduction (i.e., mileage offset on a vehicle). Rather than winning motions and trials, these attorneys may feel “reduced” to adjusting claims. This can strike a blow at a lawyer’s ego. It’s also a lot less interesting work than going to court.
Additionally, defense lawyers typically get paid based on the time they spend working on a case. Looking over a few repair orders, and then recommending a full repurchase, as outlined in the lemon law, will produce far fewer billable hours than defending a case all the way to trial, which can take a year or more.
Realities of Lemon Case Defense
When you combine these five factors – frustration at feeling you are disappointing your client, the false equation of settlement with “losing”, the ego wrapped up in a lawyer’s self-image, less than satisfying legal work, and the fact that settling may be less lucrative than fighting a case – you have a powerful set of biases that motivate the lawyer to recommend fighting over settling.
People often ask me why defense attorneys fight lemon law cases they won’t win. The five factors above are primary motivators. For consumers, this is ultimately good news. If you have an eligible lemon law claim, there’s a good chance you will receive a favorable outcome.
Contact Us Today
If you need assistance evaluating a potential lemon law claim, our firm is an excellent position to help. Because we once defended manufacturers against lemon law cases, we know how they and their attorneys view the lemon law. Schedule a free case evaluation today to put our expertise to work for your case. We look forward to serving you.