Riverside, Ca. Jury Unanimously Orders Fleetwood to Pay Elderly Retired Plaintiffs for Defective "Lemon" Motorhome

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On Wednesday, April 5, 2006, a unanimous jury in Riverside, California ordered Fleetwood to pay damages to Bill and Juanita Adkins arising out of a defective "lemon" motorhome the couple had purchased in 1997 (Adkins v. Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc., et al., Case No. RIC 358 541).

A unanimous jury in Riverside on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, ordered Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. and Fleetwood Motorhomes of California, Inc. to pay Bill and Juanita Adkins damages for a defective "lemon" motorhome which the Adkins purchased in 1997 (Adkins v. Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc., et al., Case No. RIC 358 541).

“The motorhome was a definite lemon. It had a lot of defects and Fleetwood never got to the bottom of fixing them,” commented the Adkins’ attorney, Robert F. Brennan, Esq. of Brennan, Wiener & Associates in La Crescenta, Ca. “The jury could have awarded a lot more damages, and Fleetwood got away lucky that it didn’t get tagged with a much larger verdict. Still, Fleetwood never offered a nickel to settle this case although the coach in had problems from the first day.”

The Adkins purchased the coach in February, 1997 from Holiday R.V. Superstores in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Although the case was filed and tried in Riverside, the Riverside judge applied New Mexico law and the federal "lemon" law because the purchase was outside of California.

“There were defects with the slide-out, the air conditioner, the toilet, the entry step, the awning, the leveling jacks…on and on,” commented Brennan. “It’s really a pity that Fleetwood sold this defective coach to elderly people who really did not have the strength or ability to deal with all of the problems. You would hope that Fleetwood would have a little more empathy for the situation. Instead, they never offered a nickel to settle the case and pushed the Adkins all the way through a three-week trial.” Bill Adkins is 77 years old and his wife is 67. They are semi-retired.

The jury’s award of approximately $5,600 in damages to the Adkins is less than what the Adkins requested from the jury, but the verdict will likely erase the large debt that the couple still owes on the motorhome. Thus, the trial result was more than worthwhile.

Brennan continued, “Obviously, the Adkins would have liked a larger award of damages, but they are happy to have won and are pleased to be in a position to successfully negotiate with the finance company which financed the coach. Right now, the finance company wants six figures from these people, and it’s simply not fair, given that the coach was a total lemon. The jury’s verdict gives the Adkins the ability to negotiate on equal footing with the finance company. Because of how hard Fleetwood fought this case, it is a definite victory for the Adkins, both against Fleetwood and against the finance company.”

About lead trial counsel Robert F. Brennan: Mr. Brennan is a principal with Brennan, Wiener and Associates in La Crescenta, CA. His firm is the leading Southern California consumer protection firm, specializing in "lemon" law, car dealer fraud, credit report damage and identity theft, wrongful and abusive debt collection and consumer protection cases generally. Mr. Brennan was honored to be selected as a 2006 Southern California "Super Lawyer" by Los Angeles Magazine.

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