The owner of a Porsche with a defective spoiler deployment system was awarded $226,160 – plus he gets to keep the car. (Notice: I did not handle this case. Please read further).
This case involves Bruce Tammi’s 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo coupe. Mr Tammi originally leased his Porsche. During the first year of the lease, Tammi brought the vehicle in for repairs six times for a spoiler which would not properly deploy and retract. After making $57,458 in lease payments (and having experienced this problem) he opted to buy the car for $75,622.
Tammi, himself a lawyer, undertook lemon law proceedings against Porsche. At trial, in Federal court, Porsche unsuccessfully argued that the malfunctioning spoiler represented only an inconvenience and did not impair the use or operation of the vehicle. Tammi prevailed at trial and a jury awarded him $26,000. Judge Charles Clevert Jr, the U.S. District Court judge who presided over the trial, determined that the jury’s award was improper under Wisconsin’s lemon law. He changed the award to $266,160. Judge Clevert arrived at this figure by taking the total amount that Tammi had paid – both in lease payments and in purchase price, and doubling that value. Clevert stated that “Tammi’s receipt of double damages plus his retention of the car together do not seem unreasonably harsh in light of the purposes of the lemon law statute. If they appear too harsh for Porsche, Porsche should direct its concerns to the state legislature.”
Tammi indicated that he would have settled the case for much less, had Porsche been receptive to his earlier offers. Porsche is considering their appellate options
Manufacturers and dealers are required to provide a product that performs as advertised. If they do not, they are required to repair it within the terms of the provided warranty. Under existing lemon laws, when this fails to happen, the purchaser is entitled to some compensation such as cash or a replacement vehicle. The goal is to be fair to all parties.
If you think that you have a lemon vehicle, you may want to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.