Medina County Courthouse

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Hyundai Wins Jury Trial in Judge Kimbler's Courtroom

Hyundai Motors of American won a two day jury trial in Judge Kimbler's courtroom when a jury returned a verdict in its favor on a lawsuit filed by a Brunswick man. Harry C. Walton of Salem Lane in Brunswick, Ohio, filed the lawsuit alleging violation of Ohio's Lemon Law; breach of implied warranty of merchantability; breach of express warranty; violation of Ohio's Consumer Sales Protection Act; and the tort of violation of the implied warranty of merchantability.

At the conclusion of Mr. Walton's case, Judge Kimbler granted a motion for a directed verdict on two of the claims. Those claims were for violation of the Consumer Sales Protection Act and for breach of an implied warranty under Ohio's version of Article II of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Judge Kimbler ruled that while Mr. Walton had established that Hyundai was a "supplier" under the Consumer Sales Protection Act, he did not introduce enough evidence to allow the jury to conclude that the alleged unfair or deceptive acts had been committed by an agent or employee of Hyundai. Mr. Walton's evidence established that certain representations were made to him by employees of a Hyundai dealer, but there was no evidence establishing the nature of the relationship between the dealership and Hyundai.

With respect to the claim for breach of the implied warrant of merchantability, Judge Kimbler held that there was no evidence that Hyundai and Mr. Walton were in privity of contract. Under a recent decision of the Ohio Supreme Court there has to be privity of contract before there can be a valid claim for breach of the implied warrant of merchantability. Although the evidence established that there was privity of contract between Mr. Walton and the Hyundai dealership, there was not enough evidence to establish that there was privity between Mr. Walton and Hyundai. Mr. Walton only brought his lawsuit against Hyundai and not against any Hyundai dealership.

After deliberating, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Hyundai on all remaining counts. Those counts were for violation of Ohio's Lemon Law; breach of an express warranty; and the tort of breach of implied warranty. The trial started on Monday, March 7 and concluded on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.

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