Mechanic acting as an expert witness in a lemon law case.

Expert Witnesses in Lemon Law Litigation

By: Sepehr Daghighian, Esq.

The seasoned trial attorneys at CCA regularly utilize outside expert witnesses in lemon law litigation in order to help understand, analyze, and bolster their client’s cases.  Lemon law cases oftentimes involve complicated technical issues and disputed facts. Thus, automotive technical experts provide critical insights, which allow our attorneys to deliver superlative results for our clients.

The use of lemon law expert witnesses is allowed both under California Evidence Code Section 720, and Federal Rule of Evidence 702.  In the context of the California Evidence Code, in order to qualify as an expert witness, the expert must demonstrate that “he has special knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education sufficient to qualify him as an expert on the subject to which his testimony relates.”  In the Federal context, similarly, Rule 702 requires expert witnesses to demonstrate that their “scientific, technical or otherwise specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact understand the evidence, or to determine a fact in issue.” The automotive expert witnesses used by CCA’s attorneys assist by conducting vehicle inspections, performing scientific analyses, reviewing and opining on repair orders and repair procedures, and providing highly skilled technical testimony to juries to help deliver trial victories for our clients.  

The automotive experts we use are some of the most qualified in the industry.  Oftentimes, lemon law litigants are faced with expert testimony by manufacturers in house personnel, which needs to be countermanded at trial.  Therefore, CCA’s attorneys utilize master automotive technicians with decades of experience, who are often ASE certified, and who are exceptionally well-versed in all aspects of automotive technology.  Lemon law litigation involves complicated defects, new technologies, and lengthy repair histories. Technical experts help analyze these issues by conducting vehicle inspections, reviewing records, and researching the defects experienced by our clients in light of widespread problems with similar vehicles.  CCA’s automotive experts assist our attorneys in understanding these matters and, when necessary, help to explain them to the jury.  

Also, lemon law cases often turn on whether or not authorized dealerships properly performed repair procedures.  Technical experts help to analyze the repair orders and the dealership procedures to determine whether or not the dealership’s work was up to snuff.  Lemon law automotive experts furthermore conduct scientific analysis in order to help understand the issues at hand. For instance, our experts often analyze fluid samples from engines and transmissions in order to understand the vehicle system’s malfunctions.  These chemical fluid analyses serve as a “blood test” to understand scientifically the underlying cause of vehicle defects. Such tests can prove conclusively that a vehicle system is defective, in spite of a manufacturers claims that there is nothing wrong with our client’s vehicle.  

Effective automotive experts can mean the difference between winning and losing at trial in lemon law cases.  CCA’s attorneys have litigated numerous cases wherein juries relied heavily on testimony by technical experts.  For instance, in litigation concerning FCA’s flawed Totally Integrated Power Module (“TIPM”), our attorneys have utilized experts to analyze and explain the TIPM system’s failures in light of the history of defects evidenced by FCA’s internal documents.  Furthermore, technical experts have been critical in undermining defense theories regarding TIPM malfunctions and explaining why FCA’s repair protocols were insufficient to properly address the TIPM’s many issues. 

Lemon law litigation oftentimes involves subtle issues such as intermittent problems, hesitations or jerking during acceleration, or violent transmission shifts.  In such cases, lemon law expert witness testimony is critical in providing third party neutral analysis of the vehicle’s performance.  

Automotive experts are also used to overcome the smoke and mirrors presented by the defendants in lemon law trials.  For example, in a recent “unintended acceleration” case tried by CCA’s attorneys in Riverside, California, the defendant insisted (through an in-house engineer) that there was no defect with the vehicle and that there was no unintended acceleration.  Our client’s expert witness, however, drew on his decades of experience and an over 1,000-mile test of the subject vehicle to determine conclusively that the vehicle possessed a defect and that the defendant’s theory of the case was not tenable. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor.  In these and countless other cases, the automotive experts utilized in lemon law matters serve as a critical piece of the puzzle in achieving a successful outcome for our clients.  

Lemon law litigation oftentimes involves technical, sophisticated, and nuanced issues. CCA’s attorneys rely on the industry’s foremost experts to provide a technical and scientific foundation for our client’s lemon law claims.  If you have a lemon law case that requires a high degree of technical expertise, we invite you to contact our firm for a free consultation: (833) LEMON-FIRM.