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Judges disagree over whether car ad implied drivability

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The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided on whether an Indianapolis car dealership was entitled to summary judgment on a buyer’s lawsuit that made Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, Crime Victims Relief Act, and fraud claims.

Heather Kesling purchased a 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse from Hubler Nissan for a little more than $2,300. She saw an advertisement describing the car as a “Sporty Car at a Great Value Price.” She test drove the car and saw it was not idling correctly. She asked the salesman if anything was wrong with the car, and he said it probably just needed a tune up.

A little more than a year later, she filed her lawsuit. She had it inspected more than two years later. The inspector noted the car was covered in dust, only had 44 more miles on the odometer as compared to the sales order, and that the car had numerous problems that he believed should have been discovered by the dealer during an inspection. The inspector believed the car was unsafe to drive.

The trial court granted Hubler’s motion for summary judgment.

In Heather N. Kesling v. Hubler Nissan, Inc., 49A02-1111-CT-1031, Senior Judges John Sharpnack and Carr Darden found there to be a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Hubler made a representation in its advertisement that the car had performance, uses or benefits that it didn’t have and the dealer knew or should have known the car did not have those characteristics. The majority looked at the phrase “Sporty Car at a Great Value Price” and concluded a reasonable fact-finder could determine that Hubler implied the Eclipse was a good car for the price, and thus at a minimum, that it was safe to drive.

Judge Ezra Friedlander dissented, believing the advertisement did not run afoul of the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and that the majority’s view is “simply unreasonable.” In his view, the phrase used conveys “virtually nothing” about the car to which it is attached and devoid of content relative to the car’s operating status.

The Court of Appeals also found issues of material fact on the fraud and Crime Victims Relief Act claims and remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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