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Civil Model Jury Charge 4.45 MOTOR VEHICLE LEMON

4.45 MOTOR VEHICLE LEMON Civil Model Jury Charge https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/civil/civindx.htm

The purpose of the so-called New Jersey Lemon Law is to protect buyers or lessees when they buy or lease a motor vehicle and the manufacturer cannot correct defects in the vehicle.

The lemon law does not apply to every defect in an automobile. It is not a guarantee against every defect. It applies to a defect that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a vehicle.

To establish his/her claim under the Lemon Law, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the credible evidence each of the following five elements of the claim. The elements are:

1. The plaintiff purchased/leased a vehicle manufactured by the defendant, [insert the defendants name];

2. The vehicle had nonconformity or nonconformities that is/are, a defect or defects that substantially impaired the use, value or safety of the vehicle.

To substantially impair, the defect or condition must impair the use, value or safety in an important, essential or significant way. When I use the term substantial, I do not mean a defect, impairment or condition that is minor, trivial or unimportant.


In determining whether a defect or condition substantially impairs the use or value of the vehicle, you can consider whether the defects or conditions have shaken the plaintiffs confidence in the vehicle. If the defect has shaken the plaintiffs confidence in the vehicle, this loss of confidence may be the basis for you to find that the defect has impaired the vehicles use or value. You must consider this from both a subjective and objective point of view.

From a subjective standpoint, the defects must be examined from the point of view of this particular plaintiff. From an objective standpoint, the defects that allegedly have shaken the plaintiffs confidence must be consistent with what a reasonable person in the plaintiffs position would have believed under the same or similar circumstances.

For example, in deciding whether a specific defect or condition substantially impairs the use or value of a vehicle, you may consider whether the specific defect or condition complained of, in fact caused the plaintiff to lose confidence in this vehicle. Even if you find that the plaintiffs confidence in the vehicle was shaken, you must also consider whether or not the specific defect or condition, if any, was such that a reasonable person would have lost confidence in the vehicle.


NOTE TO JUDGE

If the manufacturer raises either or both of the affirmative defenses set forth below, the following language would be appropriate. N.J.S.A. 56:12-40.

The manufacturer, in this case, has raised as a defense to the plaintiffs claim that the alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle and/or that the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the vehicle by someone other than the manufacturer or its dealer. If you find the manufacturer has proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle and/or that the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the vehicle by someone other than the manufacturer or its dealer, then you must find that there is no nonconformity within the meaning of the Lemon Law.

[Charge Continues]

3. The non-conformity occurred during the first 18,000 miles of use, or within two years after the date of original delivery to plaintiff, whichever is earlier.


4. The plaintiff reported the non-conformity to the manufacturer or its dealer during the first 18,000 miles of use, or during the period of two years following the date of original delivery to the plaintiff, whichever is earlier.

5. [insert the defendants name], through its authorized dealers, did not repair the non-conformity or non-conformities within a reasonable time.

NOTE TO JUDGE

The following language should be charged in those cases where it is alleged the conditions for the presumption have been met. Note, the two year term and two year period specified shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services were not available to the consumer because of war, invasion or strike, or a fire, flood, or other natural disaster. N.J.S.A. 56:12-33.

It is presumed that a manufacturer or its dealer is unable to repair or correct a non-conformity within a reasonable time if, within the first 18,000 miles of operation, or during the period of 2 years following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever is the earlier date:

(a) substantially the same non-conformity has been subject to repair three or more times by the manufacturer, or its dealer, and the nonconformity continued to exist; or

(b) the motor vehicle was out of service by reason of repair for one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 20 or more calendar days.


(c) since the original delivery of the motor vehicle and nonconformity continues to exist.

This presumption, however, shall only apply against the manufacturer, if the manufacturer has received written notification, by or on behalf of the plaintiff, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of a potential claim pursuant to this law and has had one opportunity to repair or correct the defect or condition within 10 calendar days following receipt of the notification. The notification by the plaintiff shall take place any time after the motor vehicle has had substantially the same nonconformity subject to repair two or more times or has been out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of 20 or more calendar days.

[Charge Continues]

If you find by a preponderance of the evidence that the plaintiff has proven all five elements, then you must find for the plaintiff on the Lemon Law claim.

But, if you find that the plaintiff has failed to establish all five elements, then you will find for the defendant.

NOTE TO JUDGE

In the event that there are factual disputes as to any of the damage elements of a Lemon Law claim, the court should provide damage instructions. See, N.J.S.A. 56:12-32 and 56:12-42.


In the event the parties have stipulated the amount of damages, the language set forth below would outline for the jury the ultimate outcome. DiVigenze v. Chrysler Corp., 345 N.J. Super. 314 (App. Div. 2001).

If then a plaintiff reports a nonconformity in a motor vehicle to the manufacturer or its dealer during the first 18,000 miles of operation, or during the period of two years following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to the plaintiff, whichever is earlier, the manufacturer is required to make, arrangements with its dealer to make, within a reasonable period of time, all repairs necessary to correct the nonconformity.

If the manufacturer is unable to correct nonconformity within a reasonable time, the manufacturer shall accept return of the motor vehicle from the plaintiff. The manufacturer shall also provide the plaintiff with a full refund of the purchase/lease price and any other charges, fees and costs, less a reasonable allowance for the use of the motor vehicle, which shall be calculated by the court.[1]


Lemon Law Model Jury Verdict Sheet

1. Did the plaintiff prove that he/she purchased/leased a vehicle manufactured by the defendant?

YES _____________ VOTE _____________

NO _____________ VOTE _____________

If your answer is yes, proceed to question 2.

If your answer is no, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.

2. Did the plaintiff prove that the vehicle had nonconformity or nonconformities, which substantially impaired the use, value or safety of the vehicle?

YES _____________ VOTE _____________

NO _____________ VOTE _____________

If your answer is yes, proceed to question 3.

If your answer is no, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.

3. Did the plaintiff prove the non-conformity occurred during the first 18,000 miles of use or within 2 years after the date of original delivery to plaintiff, whichever is earlier?

YES ____________ VOTE _____________
NO ____________ VOTE _____________

If your answer is yes, proceed to question 4.

If your answer is no, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.


4. Did the plaintiff prove he/she reported the non-conformity to the manufacturer or its dealer during the first 18,000 miles of use or during the period of 2 years following the date of original delivery to the plaintiff, whichever is earlier?

YES ___________ VOTE ______________

NO ___________ VOTE ______________

If your answer is yes, proceed to question 5.

If your answer is no, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.

5. Did the plaintiff prove that the manufacturer, through its authorized dealers, did not repair the non-conformity or non-conformities within a reasonable time?

YES ______________ VOTE ______________

NO ______________ VOTE ______________

[Insert specific damage question, if appropriate.]

See N.J.S.A. 56:12-32 and N.J.S.A. 56:12-42.



[1] In the event there are claims for breach of expressed warranty on the sale of goods, or breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. See Model Civil Charges 4.21 and 4.22, respectively.

   
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Since 1985, KENNETH VERCAMMEN has worked as a personal injury attorney, working for injury victims and their families. By taking a hard-hitting, aggressive approach toward the insurance companies, KENNETH VERCAMMEN and our co-counsel have consistently obtained outstanding results for many injured clients over the years I am proud to have worked on cases in various capacities, small and large. While obviously prior results cannot guarantee the outcome of future cases, I can guarantee that you case will receive the same degree of dedication and hard work that went into each of these prior cases.

In direct contrast to the hard-hitting approach we take toward the insurance companies is the soft approach we take toward our clients. I am proud of my compassionate staff as I am of the outstanding financial results they have achieved. For many years, I have watched them treat our clients with patience, dignity and respect. I would have it no other way.

Many years ago, I attended a seminar sponsored by the American Bar Association on Law Practice Management. This was to help insure that each of our clients is always treated like a person -- not a file! We recognize that you are innocent victims and that you have placed your trust in us. Please understand that we understand what you are going through. Feel comforted that we are here to help you.

If you retain KENNETH VERCAMMEN to represent you, we will give you the same advice we give each of our clients -- concentrate on your life, you family and your health. We will take care of everything else. Leave all of the work and worry about your legal rights to us. Trust us. Believe in us. Have faith in us as your attorneys. Understand that we will always to do what we believe is best for you and your case. Helping you is our job. In fact, it is our only job -- guiding injury victims like you through one of the most difficult times of your lives, with care and concern -- while fighting aggressively to the limits of the law to obtain compensation and justice for each of you!

Print our Personal Injury Questionnaire on our Website, Fill it out and Fax back, so we can determine if we can help you obtain an injury settlement. We would welcome an opportunity to prove to you what we have proven to thousands of injured clients -- that you can feel comfortable and secure in the fact that KENNETH VERCAMMEN - Trial Attorney We Fight To Win.

When you have been injured in an accident or collision, you are worried about who is going to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company. If you dont protect your rights, you may not be able to make a claim.

Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters whose goal is to pay you as little as they can. You need a New Jersey personal injury lawyer to fight for you. I am dedicated to helping your recover as much money as possible under the law.

You need an attorney who will work hard to protect your rights, maximize your insurance settlement and minimize the hassles of dealing with the insurance companies. You need an experienced and aggressive New Jersey trial lawyer with PROVEN RESULTS who will fight for you. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer can make the difference between getting what you deserve and getting nothing.

Without the threat of a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and seek a big jury verdict, why would an insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth? Lawsuits can be expensive, and many people do not have the money to pursue their claim. In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case and I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.

I am an experienced aggressive trial lawyer and a 3rd degree Black Belt. I am not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize the amount of money your recover for your personal injury. I offer one-on-one service, and I will not hand your case off to an inexperienced lawyer or a paralegal.

Reduce the stress of making a claim.

Personal injury accidents can turn your life upside down. Making a personal injury claim can be difficult and time consuming. Once I take your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the insurance companies and focus on recovering from your injuries. I take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.

p.s. For those clients who are afraid or reluctant to go to Court, KENNETH VERCAMMEN also offers a special -- For Settlement Only -- program. This means that if we are unable to settle with the insurance company, we will not go any further -- unless you want us to. You have my personal assurance that there will be absolutely no pressure and no obligation.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.

This means: YOU DONT OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU.

Call our office to schedule a "confidential" appointment 732-572-0500

Kenneth A. Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey each week on personal injury matters, Criminal /Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on criminal, elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Committee Newsletter.

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