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Volkswagen Jetta

Car was disabled by emissions malfunction, owner claimed

Settlement:   $25,560
Case Type:   Lemon Law , Motor Vehicle
Case:   Danuta Bryk v. Volkswagen of America Inc.
Venue:   Office of the Attorney General
Date:   Thursday, July 18, 2013
Plaintiff Attorney(s):   Anthony T. Ballato: Massapequa, NY
Defendant Attorney(s):   James Cruse, senior specialist, Volkwagen of America Inc., Auburn Hills, MI
Facts:   On Oct. 12, 2012, claimant Danuta Bryk purchased a new 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI sedan. The vehicle was a gift for her son. The purchase included a standard manufacturer's warranty. After five months had passed, Bryk reported that the vehicle was malfunctioning. Its "check engine" warning light was illuminated, and technicians determined that the warning was a result of insufficient exhaust gas recirculation flow, which is a function of a vehicle's emissions system. Six separate repairs were undertaken during the ensuing eight months, but the problem could not be resolved. The repair work resulted in the vehicle being unavailable for a total of more than 30 days. Bryk attempted to return the vehicle, but it was refused by the manufacturer, Volkswagen of America Inc. Bryk sought recovery via application of the New Car Lemon Law, General Business Law article 11-A, ยง 198-a. Arbitration was scheduled. Bryk's counsel contended that the vehicle's malfunctions constituted a violation of the New Car Lemon Law, which specifies that a vehicle's first 24 months and/or 18,000 miles should not include more than four repair attempts and/or 30 days in which it is not in service.
Injury:   Bryk claimed that her vehicle's engine malfunctioned as a result of insufficient exhaust gas recirculation flow. Her counsel contended that the malfunction compromised the vehicle's performance and constituted a material impairment of its value. Bryk sought recovery of the vehicle's purchase price, $24,160. She also sought recovery of legal fees and other costs associated with the vehicle's purchase.
Verdict:   The parties negotiated a settlement before arbitration could be conducted. Volkswagen of America agreed to pay $25,560, which included $24,160 for the price of the vehicle and $1,400 for other costs. The manufacturer paid $3,800 in attorneys' fees to the consumer.

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