DaimlerChrysler will try again to transfer

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 17, 2004, 5:39am

Auto maker DaimlerChrysler, a defendant in a Madison County class action filing, will have its motion to transfer venue heard Nov. 23 by Judge Andy Matoesian.

Ralph Kern and Alan Lewis blamed DaimlerChrysler, the German auto manufacturer, for some car trouble they had last year. They sued in February, claiming the auto maker failed to disclose a substantial risk that an engine defect would develop after 50,000 miles in many of its vehicles and that the defect might not exhibit itself until after warranties on those vehicles had expired.

On Aug. 18, Matoesian ruled DaimlerChrysler's motion to transfer venue moot in light of his decision to grant a plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint. On Sept. 14, Daimler filed another transfer of venue motion.

Kern and Lewis claim that DaimlerChrysler's conduct constitutes consumer fraud and common law fraud by omission. They seek damages equal to the cost of repairs to the vehicle plus all related costs.

Kern bought his used 1999 Dodge Intrepid with a 2.7-liter engine from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a co-defendant in the suit. In late 2002 and early 2003 the engine allegedly began to fail, with an odometer reading between 50,000-80,000 miles. Kern's warranty had expired, leaving him to pay his $5,210.06 in repair bill himself.

In filings, Kern and Lewis argue that only the automaker can prevent design defects that cause engine failure.

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