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Altman Helps a Customer with a Defective Kia

Maximum Lemon Law Verdict for Altman Client


Randall M. and Gary V. purchased a new 2011 Kia Sorrento in June 2010 from a local California Kia dealership. Starting just two months after the purchase, the vehicle began exhibiting electrical issues with the lighting in the door panels. The vehicle purchased by the Plaintiffs had powered door reflector lighting so that other vehicles are alerted when one of the passenger doors is opened. This is a safety feature of the vehicle.

The Plaintiffs brought the vehicle in 5 separate times for these lights shorting out and not working. In addition, the vehicle had several check engine lights and several transmission issues which caused lurching, non starts, and very poor driving.

Lemon Law 100%
Civil Penalties 100%
Incidental and Consequential Damages 100%

Mr. M and Mr. V filed suit against Kia Motors America, claiming the vehicle was a lemon. Mr. V had taken the additional step of contacting Kia directly to request a California lemon law buyback to try to avoid litigation. Kia turned him down. Kia had full access to all of the numerous warranty repairs performed on the vehicle but refused to do anything. They were left with no other recourse than to file a lawsuit.

Legal Strategy

Kia believed they could win this case at trial. The one thing Kia did not count on was the Altman trial team discovering that Kia itself had issued a recall on the lighting system in the Plaintiffs car due to an unreasonable risk of fire. The symptoms described by Kia in the recall were exactly what the Plaintiffs vehicle presented.

The recall was never communicated to the Plaintiffs at any point and the repairing dealerships essentially ignored the recalls, instead telling the Plaintiffs they could not find the problem. It is reasonable to believe that Kia may have had an incentive at the time to have its’ dealerships slow-walk these repairs in order to downplay the severity of the problem to NHTSA. Kia makes the recall documentation available to the dealers, there is no real credible explanation other than the failure to repair or the stalling of proper repairs was intentional.

Mr. M was at first shocked to hear about the recall and risk of fire in his vehicle, then he became distraught at thinking about all the times the lighting was flickering on and off while driving, creating a constant (but entirely unknown) safety risk to himself and passengers.

The jury awarded the maximum damages permitted by the Song-Beverly Act against Kia for their failure to repurchase an obvious lemon vehicle. The jury also awarded two civil penalties against Kia for its willful behavior in knowing its obligations under the law but intentionally not following them.


The jury awarded the Plaintiffs a verdict of $147,51.12, which included $98.434.08 in civil penalties against Kia for its willful behavior.

  • LLP successfully defended longtime client 7-Eleven, Inc., the world’s largest convenience retailer, which was dismissed from the lawsuit soon after the trial commenced.
  • The jury returned a verdict of no negligence for the franchise owner, Mr. Jagtar Samra.
  • In-depth preparation and skilled cross-examination of the Plaintiff exposed critical inconsistencies in her.