Los Angeles Jury Imposes Full Buyback Damages and Punitive Damages against Sunrise Ford of North Hollywood for Fraudulently Concealing Collision History of a Used Car

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Los Angeles-area Consumer Protection Attorney Robert F. Brennan has, once again, obtained a large jury verdict with punitive damages against Sunrise Ford of North Hollywood for fraudulently concealing the collision-damage history of a used 2010 Kia Forte, and then representing to an unsuspecting consumer that the car was safe and collision-free. Deborah Leonhardt v. Sunrise Ford of North Hollywood, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC 546 010.

Robert F. Brennan, Esq. of Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan APC in La Crescenta has obtained a $75,000 verdict against Sunrise Ford of North Hollywood under California’s consumer fraud and consumer protection laws, for misrepresenting a collision-damaged car to an unsuspecting consumer, Deborah Leonhardt, who specifically inquired numerous times whether the car had been in an accident before agreeing to buy a 2010 Kia Forte. The jury rendered its verdict on February 25, 2016 in Dept. 48 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, downtown Los Angeles courthouse. The jury included in its verdict a $50,000 assessment of punitive damages against Sunrise Ford for fraud. Deborah Leonhardt v. Sunrise Ford of North Hollywood, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC 546 010.

Mr. Brennan has obtained numerous verdicts over the years against car dealers and car manufacturers for fraud and for violations of California’s “lemon law”.

“At trial, Sunrise Ford initially claimed in sworn documents that Deborah Leonhardt had probably caused the damage to the car, which was frame damage and which affected the car’s safety systems,” comments Brennan. “We had to subpoena the car’s history from Enterprise Rent-a-Car to show that the vehicle had been in a front-end collision and had then been sold at auction by Enterprise. The evidence at trial showed that the vehicle was then wholesaled to an unlicensed body shop for repairs. DMV documents showed that Sunrise Ford then bought the car from the unlicensed body shop and put it on the lot for unsuspecting consumers. Ms. Leonhardt testified that Sunrise told her that the car had been inspected, had a clean Carfax and was entirely collision-free.”

According to court records, Sunrise Ford also claimed at trial that the collision damage was so well concealed that it did not know about the vehicle’s collision history. “I had to put on evidence from automotive experts that there were numerous ‘red flags’ that should have, and probably did, alert the dealership to the collision damage on the car. Yes, it is true that sometimes collision damage can be repaired very well, but when representing the history of a used car, Sunrise Ford’s own expert witness admitted in testimony that dealerships should respond, “I don’t know,” when asked whether a car has been in any kind of an accident. Here, the accident was more serious because it involved the frame and structural components of the vehicle, which meant that the car may well not have been safe in a future collision.”

About Robert F. Brennan and his firm: Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan APC is widely recognized as the leading Southern California law firm on a wide range of consumer protection issues, including lemon law, car dealer fraud, identity theft, wrongful credit damage, unfair debt collection practices and landlord-tenant class actions, as well as serious personal injury cases. The firm enjoys an "AV" rating from the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell ratings agency, which is the highest possible rating for an attorney or a law firm and is based on pre-eminence in both legal ability and ethics. Mr. Brennan has been selected as a “Southern California Super Lawyer” for eleven consecutive years, and “Pasadena Top Attorney” for six consecutive years.

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Robert Brennan
Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan
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