In Loi Nguyen v. House of Imps., Nos. G056789, G057216, 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4006, at *2 (June 25, 2020), the Court of Appeal affirmed a jury trial verdict in favor of a car dealer. The Court had some words for the appellant’s briefing.
The appellant has the duty to fairly summarize all of the facts in the light most favorable to the judgment, “‘not merely their own evidence.'” (Foreman & ClarkCorp. v. Fallon (1971) 3 Cal.3d 875, 881.) This duty increases with the complexity of the record. (Western Aggregates, Inc. v. County of Yuba (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 278, 290.) Nguyen’s briefing fails to meet this standard. Instead, it is full of references to what he “alleges” despite the fact that this is a posttrial appeal and his allegations are irrelevant (unless he is referring directly to the complaint). What is relevant is the evidence set forth at trial.
The facts were as follows:
In August 2014, Nguyen visited the House of Imports car dealership to purchase a used vehicle. He eventually bought a 2012 Mercedes-Benz E350W (the vehicle), which the dealership referred to as a “certified pre-owned vehicle.” Certified pre-owned, or CPO, is an internal Mercedes-Benz program. To qualify as a CPO, vehicle, it must meet certain standards Mercedes-Benz has established and pass an inspection. Among other things, “identifiable structural damage of any kind” should prevent a vehicle from being sold as CPO. Under Mercedes-Benz standards, the buyer of a CPO vehicle should be provided with a copy of the inspection and certification report, among other documents. Certain types of noncompliance with Mercedes-Benz requirements may result in the “improper representation of the vehicle” as CPO. Nguyen purchased the vehicle with a 48 month/50,000 mile warranty, and as a CPO, the vehicle was subject to an unlimited coverage warranty for one year. Throughout the pendency of the case, House of Imports has asserted it had no knowledge that the vehicle was in a prior accident, which was referred to by numerous witnesses at trial as “minor.” Testimony established the lessor did not disclose the accident to House of Imports. The prior lessor, according to witness testimony, took the vehicle to a body shop in Los Angeles County for repairs. The front body upper tie bar was replaced, which was described by witnesses as a bolt-on part and not structural. It is not part of the frame, it’s part of the unibody construction of the vehicle, and not welded to the frame. The body shop used original Mercedes-Benz parts and a new hood was put on, and no structural or frame damage was noted. Nguyen alleged that in May 2016, he learned the vehicle had been in an accident prior to his purchase, which substantially impaired the vehicle’s value. He testified at trial that the dealership refused to assist him or repurchase the vehicle.
Too long to set forth here on this ‘blog post, but the case contains a detail evaluation of the proper jury instructions in a CLRA case.