Indiana Consumer Law Group/The Law Office of Robert E. Duff announces a jury verdict in favor of the firm’s client, Heather N. Kesling. Ms. Kesling purchased an inexpensive car for $2098 from Hubler Auto Outlet and subsequently found out that it was unsafe to drive. The evidence at trial showed the vehicle had been driven less than 44 miles before it was permanently put in storage.
An expert testified for Ms. Kesling, and he told the jury that in his opinion the car was dangerous to drive because it could catch on fire, have a catastrophic loss of steering control or lose all power while driving on the interstate. He also said these defects would have been obvious to any mechanic who looked at the car. Another witness confirmed the dangerousness of the car’s defects.
The previous owner who traded the car in to Hubler about two weeks before testified. She said the car smoked badly and idled poorly and would die at every stop sign or stoplight. In fact, she told the jury that the car was in such poor shape she had to buy a different car from Hubler because she didn’t believe that one would make it home. She also testified that Hubler knew that.
Hubler defended the case by presenting evidence that, pursuant to Hubler’s standard operating procedures, the car was given a cursory inspection at the time it was traded in but that the inspection was not done by a mechanic and did not include looking under the hood. Hubler said it never had the car inspected by a mechanic and therefore did not know about any defects the vehicle might have had. Hubler admitted that it didn’t know whether or not the car was dangerous to drive at the time it was sold to Ms. Kesling. According to Hubler, because it did not know the actual condition of the car, it could not have intentionally or recklessly misrepresented it.
Ms. Kesling alleged in the case of Heather N. Kesling v. Hubler Nissan, Inc., Cause No. 49D02-0901-CT-002954, that Hubler committed fraud by intentionally or recklessly mispresenting the condition of the car and failing to disclose all problems of which it was aware when she inquired about its condition. Ms. Kesling testified at trial that the car idled poorly on her test drive and she inquired about any problems it might have. The salesperson responded that the car had been sitting for a while and was in need of a tune-up, according to Ms. Kesling. However, the evidence showed car in fact had been sitting for less than two weeks and needed much more than a tune-up. The jury determined that Hubler had committed fraud when it sold the car to Ms. Kesling. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Ms. Kesling on May 25, 2016 in the amount of $15,572.
“My primary goal in bringing this lawsuit was to expose the fraud in the hope that it might stop someone else from having to go through what I went through,” Kesling said. “With the help of the jury, I feel like we’ve finally been able to show that what Hubler did was wrong.”