California Lemon Law Verdicts

Donlen v. Ford (2013) 217 Cal. App.4th 138-Repairs after expiration of the warranty can prove that the vehicle defects were not fixed correctly DURING the warranty period.

These post-warranty repair attempts can be highly relevant and probative.

We had previously won a decision (after a several week jury trial in Calaveras County in the Sierra Foothills) for our client Greg Donlen against Ford Motor Company. Our client had purchased a new Ford F-450 Super Duty Truck with a TorqShift transmission. During the course of four months, he experienced issues with the transmission such as erratic shifting and popping out of gear into neutral and blowing out seals.

On the fourth instance, a loud clunking sound was being made. After making a couple of repairs on electronic components, the entire transmission was overhauled due to what was describe as a blown seal. The warranty for the vehicle expired in July 2007 and in July of 2008 an internal seal blew out once again. Our client requested from Ford that they repair the vehicle under warranty since the problem arose during the original warranty period. Ford declined to do so and instead charged our client $3,000 for a new transmission.

We took the case to trial and won a judgment of $36,000 for incidental damages and buy back of the truck. The presiding judge however decided he would grant a new trial after ruling that his prior admittance of a repair past warranty was erroneous and misled the jury which caused undue prejudice to the Defendant Ford.

Lemon Law Associates filed an appeal concerning the lower court’s ruling that the post warranty repair was prejudicial and not relevant. The third district court of appeal reversed finding that the post-warranty repair was indeed relevant. It took five years but we won for our client Greg Donlen. Mr. Donlen had no out of pocket expense. Lemon Law Associates worked on a contingency the whole time the case was litigated and finally won.

Speak with a California F-Series Truck Lemon Law Attorney

California Lemon Law protections are enacted once the dealer has been given a “reasonable” number of chances to correct the issue. Ford’s stance was that the repair was out of warranty so it should not have to pay, however the appeals court disagreed.

The post-warranty repair was relevant because the issue was of a similar nature to the previous repairs. The repair was deemed necessary because of insufficient repairs while the vehicle was under warranty. The appeals court ruled that the initial decision was not in error and therefore the court should not have granted a new trial. Additionally the original judgment was awarded.

One of the reasons why this case is so important is that it protects consumers against being stalled by automotive companies until their warranty expires. This is a huge victory for California auto purchasers. Manufacturers can no longer make “band-aid” repair attempts waiting for the vehicle to go out of warranty.

Contact San Diego Lemon Law Lawyer

If you have purchased a Ford F- Series truck or any other type of vehicle and you feel like that you have been sold a lemon, contact us at 877-955-3666 to find out more information or to schedule a consultation. Let our experience get you out of your lemon and into a working vehicle.

Ford Fiesta Recall

Lemon Law

Lemon Law Associates Of California represents consumers who have California consumer vehicle claims regarding lemon law and auto fraud.

Mobile purchase system

Lemon Law Articles

Click below where you can find articles that can provide solutions to many of the questions you might have regarding California Lemon Law or if you might have a legitimate lemon law claim.

California Lemon Law FAQs


Q. My car is out of warranty now. Can I
still have a lemon law claim?

Ans: Yes. If you can establish the defect or nonconformity occurred during the original manufacturer’s warranty period your claim may still be valid.