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Posted: 4/1/2006 6:20:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 6:56:41 PM EDT by VoodooChile]
Lousy Deal...but I'd still want one
ETA: Another article says the guy owns a Z06 now

www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=412192

Car company must pay $385,000 for lemon

Waukesha - In what is believed to be the largest damages award concerning a defective car in the history of the state's lemon law, a judge has ordered DaimlerChrysler Corp. to pay two business partners and their attorneys more than $385,000.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Mark Gempeler ordered the payment in closing out a lawsuit over an oft-troubled $80,000 Dodge Viper that has been parked for two years.

The award illustrates how high the stakes can be in Wisconsin for carmakers, because if they lose such lawsuits, they have to pay the owner double damages, attorney fees, court costs and interest.

"This may be the biggest award ever in America," said attorney Vince Megna, who represented the business partner who owed the Viper. "In researching this, I found nothing bigger over the past 20 years, and until it's paid, it's earning $126.90 in interest each day."

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 by James Mortle of Muskego and Joe Kiriaki of Franklin over a muscle car they bought because of its performance prowess. The two bought a black 2003 Viper on July 12, 2003, from a dealer in Illinois.

On Aug. 1, 2003, according to court records, 71 miles after the 500-mile break-in period, the differential broke for the first time. It was repaired, but just 13 days later, with the odometer reading 686 miles, the differential broke again, court records say.

Over the next six months, the differential broke four more times, each time while being shifted from first to second gear at around 50 mph.

When the Viper was running like it was designed to, Mortle reached 122 mph in a quarter mile on a drag strip, he said. But after the differential broke for the sixth time, the manufacturer refused to cover any more repairs, records show.

Mortle asked for a replacement Viper under the state's lemon law, according to the lawsuit, but the manufacturer refused, contending that he and Kiriaki abused the car.

Megna filed the lemon law suit against DaimlerChrysler Corp. in June 2004 in Waukesha County Circuit Court. A jury sided with Mortle and Kiriaki after a trial in January.

The award ordered by Gempeler last week included payments of $161,013 in damages to Mortle and Kiriaki, $26,632 in interest as of March 23, $175,610 in attorney fees and $22,721 in court costs. William Croke, the attorney for DaimlerChrysler Corp., could not be reached for comment Thursday.


Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:26:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 6:26:33 PM EDT by mayday]
I used to work in the "lemon-law" business as a rep for Volkswagen/Audi Motors in Michigan, GM are fools for not offering a full buy-back. ANYTIME the customer met lemon-law presumption:
1] Four or more repair attempts for the same matter.
2] 30 or more total days out of service
...and the problem was a "substantial impairment to safety, usage or value"...we would offer a repurchase or replacemnt.

Otherwise there are channels that can reaaly put the hurt on the manufacturer. The GM rep who originally declined to offer a repurchase or replaement shoudl be fired on the spot; this is a no-brainer.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:30:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 6:34:28 PM EDT by fxntime]
So the asshole was dragracing the car and broke parts. Shit happens when you dump the clutch hard on big ass wide tires. Duh.

I'd have pulled the clutch and checked for abnormal wear patterns on the cluth disc face and pressure plate [overheating signs] after the second rear end. Drag racing and deliberate abuse is not covered nor should it be.


And if stupid shit admitted to DRAG RACING on a track he should have got jack and shit from a judge that actually understood the law. If it hits the track, there is NO MORE WARRENTY. You cannot race and expect a manufacturer to pay for your broken parts.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:35:29 PM EDT
What the hell was the guy doing with that car? Six differentials?

Sounds like it may have been user error

Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:37:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fxntime:
So the asshole was dragracing the car and broke parts. Shit happens when you dump the clutch hard on big ass wide tires. Duh.

I'd have pulled the clutch and checked for abnormal wear patterns on the cluth disc face and pressure plate [overheating signs] after the second rear end. Drag racing and deliberate abuse is not covered nor should it be.




Not so simple, it all depends on the original intent of the vehicle. For instance, when I was in the business, I used to stay in touch with Subaru reps. Their clutches in the '03 to '05 WRX's were somewhat weak, some would break. Subaru would sometimes decline repairs due to "customer-racing"...well, they would bite the dust many times in court when the customers would bring up the FACT that you get a free membership to SCCA [Sport Club Car of America]. In other words the manufacturer was PROMOTING racing. Case closed, Suabaru lost many arbitrations this way.

Manufacturer has to present evidence that there was customer abuse and the vehicle was not being used as intended.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:38:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fxntime:
So the asshole was dragracing the car and broke parts. Shit happens when you dump the clutch hard on big ass wide tires. Duh.

I'd have pulled the clutch and checked for abnormal wear patterns on the cluth disc face and pressure plate [overheating signs] after the second rear end. Drag racing and deliberate abuse is not covered nor should it be.


And if stupid shit admitted to DRAG RACING on a track he should have got jack and shit from a judge that actually understood the law. If it hits the track, there is NO MORE WARRENTY. You cannot race and expect a manufacturer to pay for your broken parts.



Agreed... Car manufacturers generally do not cover damage due to racing...

But could it be argued (and I guess it was by this attorney) that the Viper is designed to be ridden hard and put away wet
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:38:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 6:40:05 PM EDT by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By mayday:
I used to work in the "lemon-law" business as a rep for Volkswagen/Audi Motors in Michigan, GM are fools for not offering a full buy-back. ANYTIME the customer met lemon-law presumption:
1] Four or more repair attempts for the same matter.
2] 30 or more total days out of service
...and the problem was a "substantial impairment to safety, usage or value"...we would offer a repurchase or replacemnt.

Otherwise there are channels that can reaaly put the hurt on the manufacturer. The GM rep who originally declined to offer a repurchase or replaement shoudl be fired on the spot; this is a no-brainer.



It's a Chrysler (Dodge) car...

Not a GM one...

Oh, and with the Viper, Corvette, or anything that comes marked SRT, SVT, SLP, or whatever - declining repairs due to 'racing' is absurd...

Sell someone a 500hp car, what do you think they're gonna do with it, run a paper route?
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:38:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fxntime:
So the asshole was dragracing the car and broke parts. Shit happens when you dump the clutch hard on big ass wide tires. Duh.

I'd have pulled the clutch and checked for abnormal wear patterns on the cluth disc face and pressure plate [overheating signs] after the second rear end. Drag racing and deliberate abuse is not covered nor should it be.


And if stupid shit admitted to DRAG RACING on a track he should have got jack and shit from a judge that actually understood the law. If it hits the track, there is NO MORE WARRENTY. You cannot race and expect a manufacturer to pay for your broken parts.




That would kinda be my impression too.

Sure, the Viper is a fast performance car, but Formula cars practically replace their engines after a race or two - if these two guys are out drag-racing the car every weekend, and really pushing the performance, then OF COURSE it is going to break.


But - maybe it really was a lemon. If they were pushing the car really hard, why was it only one part that kept breaking? I don't know enough about the mechanics of performance cars to really know, but I gotta think Daimler-Chrysler was smart to fight this to the end. The precedent of replacing cars when people push them too hard and break them would be much more expensive in the long run.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:38:49 PM EDT
shifting into 2nd at 50 mph? is that typical for muscle/performance car?
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:41:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By torstin:
shifting into 2nd at 50 mph? is that typical for muscle/performance car?



The Viper, Ford GT, and Z06 are not your typical performance cars...

It may be out-of-range for a Mustang or Camaro, but it shouldn't be for a Viper...
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:41:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By mayday:
I used to work in the "lemon-law" business as a rep for Volkswagen/Audi Motors in Michigan, GM are fools for not offering a full buy-back. ANYTIME the customer met lemon-law presumption:
1] Four or more repair attempts for the same matter.
2] 30 or more total days out of service
...and the problem was a "substantial impairment to safety, usage or value"...we would offer a repurchase or replacemnt.

Otherwise there are channels that can reaaly put the hurt on the manufacturer. The GM rep who originally declined to offer a repurchase or replaement shoudl be fired on the spot; this is a no-brainer.



It's a Chrysler (Dodge) car...

Not a GM one...

Oh, and with the Viper, Corvette, or anything that comes marked SRT, SVT, SLP, or whatever - declining repairs due to 'racing' is absurd...

Sell someone a 500hp car, what do you think they're gonna do with it, run a paper route?



I cant believe I made that mistake...and I used to work for Daimler Chrysler ...back in 1999-2003....just for the record.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:50:37 PM EDT
The viper is made for racing/high performance applications. If not, then why would Dodge send dozens of these cars to sport car and racing magazine editors to test against ZO6's, 911 Turbo's, etc. Without knowing the details of the case, it seems that the parts/labor supplied by the manufacturer were defective. They should have to pay.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:54:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 6:55:05 PM EDT by DK-Prof]
The argument that "it's a performance car" doesn't mean it won't break if you continually push it. Like I said above, Formula cars or Nascars don't drive on the same engine, transmission and differentation for race after race after race, even though they are designed to be performance cars.

Just because a belt-fed machine gun is "designed" for rapid fire, what will happen if you try to fire it continuously for about 60,000 rounds without a barrel change? It will break, and not because of any manufacturing defect or lemon, but because it was pushed too hard by the operator.


In the proud tradition of snap judgments on arfcom in the absence of information, I am hereby concluding that these two guys were assholes who abused the car, and then abused our legal system and litiguous society to make Daimler-Chrysler accountable for thier own irrepsonsible behavior.

Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:56:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 6:58:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 7:02:45 PM EDT by Napoleon_Tanerite]
solution:

Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:01:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pv74:

Originally Posted By fxntime:
So the asshole was dragracing the car and broke parts. Shit happens when you dump the clutch hard on big ass wide tires. Duh.

I'd have pulled the clutch and checked for abnormal wear patterns on the cluth disc face and pressure plate [overheating signs] after the second rear end. Drag racing and deliberate abuse is not covered nor should it be.


And if stupid shit admitted to DRAG RACING on a track he should have got jack and shit from a judge that actually understood the law. If it hits the track, there is NO MORE WARRENTY. You cannot race and expect a manufacturer to pay for your broken parts.



Agreed... Car manufacturers generally do not cover damage due to racing...

But could it be argued (and I guess it was by this attorney) that the Viper is designed to be ridden hard and put away wet



Drag racing and running 122MPH is not normal driving. He went to the track and probably cranked up the revs and DUMPED the clutch. When the mags were doing tests of the vettes, vipers and such they ended up usually doing damage to some part of the car by the time they were done. In many instances BEFORE they were done.

Chances are they were doing a burnout first, hitting the lights and then slamshifting 2nd right at the top of the HP and torque curve. Stuff breaks, no matter what, when you drag race a car. In fact, it is to be expected. As in the NORM.

The judge was a fool for ruling the way he did. The second it hit the track, all bets are off. Same as an Insurance policy, the second you hit the track, the contract is null and void. You can't collect if you hit a wall at 150.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:04:19 PM EDT
I was driving back home from my parents house (Mom's Birthday) and an asshat in a white Viper with two blue racing strips down the middle flew past me at had to be 125 mph speed (I was doing 80, and he blew right past me). A couple miles later, huge backup from an accident, and Viper-boy was in the ditch, didn't expect bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-95 (duhhh)...
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:05:02 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:14:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pv74:.... ridden hard and put away wet .....


Wet, did you say?
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:15:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:
solution:



I don't know... after GM stole the headlights off the Viper, that'd likely give him flashbacks of his Viper.


I don't buy it. It doesn't sound right. If the guy really blew up the rear end, he was probably on slicks. Not even street tires on the track would grenade the rear end six times. Something else had to have been done.

I bet the article forgets to point out he had the dealership come pick it up from Joe Bob's Dragraceway.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:16:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 7:17:52 PM EDT by VoodooChile]

Originally Posted By fxntime:

The judge was a fool for ruling the way he did. The second it hit the track, all bets are off. Same as an Insurance policy, the second you hit the track, the contract is null and void. You can't collect if you hit a wall at 150.



OK but go here to the DODGE website..They aren't the least bit shy about bragging what the Viper will do on the track...No disclaimers either..

www.dodge.com/viper/index.html

www.dodge.com/viper/performance.html
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:32:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VoodooChile:

Originally Posted By fxntime:

The judge was a fool for ruling the way he did. The second it hit the track, all bets are off. Same as an Insurance policy, the second you hit the track, the contract is null and void. You can't collect if you hit a wall at 150.



OK but go here to the DODGE website..They aren't the least bit shy about bragging what the Viper will do on the track...No disclaimers either..

www.dodge.com/viper/index.html

www.dodge.com/viper/performance.html



Not much different then dumping 3 tons in the back of a pickup in a commercial advertising the toughness of a truck while in real life something would break sooner or later. Remember the truck commercial where a pickup was pulling a string of rail cars? I don't see Dodge [or was it Ford] as being responsible if someone actually went out and used their truck as an Engine.

Sure you can race your sports car, heck I've had some pretty fast ones myself. I also relized that if you race them or off road a vehicle chances are MUCH greater you will break things. At that point a RESPONSIBLE person pays up. They do not force someone else to pay for their behavior.

The biggest problems in drag racing [street] cars are clutches, [pressure plates and flywheel scoring] and REAR END breakage or driveshaft [U joint] grenading.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:33:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2006 7:36:04 PM EDT by pv74]

Originally Posted By prk:

Originally Posted By pv74:.... ridden hard and put away wet .....


Wet, did you say?



I guess I have to agree with the Prof on this one...

You can only ride it so hard without expecting it to break...

Balls to the wall perfromance comes at a price


I had a buddy of mine who would race the shit out of his Camaro (neutral drops, visits to Billy Joe Bob's drag strip, the whole nine yards) ..went through three sets of tires, two transmissions, yada yada... he was always uspet that he was dumping so much money into it

This and he always complained about being constantly harrased by the cops (came close to losing his license a few times)
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:43:36 PM EDT
I succesfully won a lemon law case against the Chrysler Corp also.

1993 Dodge Cummins pickup truck.

They had to buy it back from me full price plus tax - title and finance charges.

Was a pretty lengthy process. Took approx 10 months start to finish if I remember correctly.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 7:44:27 PM EDT
My dad showed me an article where some guy bought the new vw toureg and one of those airstream trailers to tow with the toureg.

Turns out the airstream was a bit heavier than the toureg was rated for towing.

VW bought the toureg back and the reason they did so was mostly because the guy had seen a commercial of a toureg towing an airstream like what he bought. Even here the guy should have done his homework but VW stepped up to the plate and dealt with it.

Back in the day of real hemi-engined muscle cars from chrysler they were not shy about saying there was no warranty on some of the higher performance vehicles.

I think if the guy is drag racing it on street tires then it is not a big deal since dodge shows the performance of the car to be something serious.

If the guy bolted slicks to it, then it is his problem. As long as he had street legal tires on the car then I think dodge has some responsability. And yeah, this includes the street legal slicks that are now popular at many drag strips.

As far as the speeds mentioned for shifting, for epa and fuel mileage requirements the viper comes with a stupid rear end gear and this is most likely part of the reason it kept breaking.

To some extent I think part of the problem comes from the dealer messing with it the first time.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 8:07:59 PM EDT
Chrysler has had more than its share of rear end problems. Several of my customers hav had more than one replaced in their truck. My coworker's brother in law purchaesed a ner truck in Tennessee and never made it to Florida before the rear end went out.

I batteled them for two years over my piece of shit. Own two Toyotas now.
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