Supreme Court ruling may have local impact

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 3, 2004, 8:31pm

A decision that is sure to be referenced soon in defense arguments is one that the United States Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 30, Koons Buick Pontiac GMC v. Bradley Nigh.

Justices ruled 8-1 against the Virginia man who alleged he was a victim of unfair tactics by the car dealership in Alexandria, Va.

There are at least 40 similar cases pending in Madison County. But judging by the number auto finance companies on the Madison County Circuit Court docket, there could possibly be many more cases affected by the ruling.

One example, Chad Carpenter v. Nissan Motor Acceptance, alleges Nissan and Nissan Motor Acceptance (NMAC) schemed to charge consumers more finance charges than they should. The class action suit was filed by Chad Carpenter on Sept. 11, 2002.

Carpenter, who is represented by Daniel J. Cohen of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, alleges that Nissan fraudulently marked up financing fees above and beyond what was charged by NMAC.

Since 1990, NMAC has been sued 14 times in Madison County. The company is represented by Hinshaw & Culbertson of Chicago.

Calls to attorneys from both sides and other major law firms were not returned by press time.

A Virginia jury had ordered Koons Buick Pontiac GMC Inc. to pay Bradley Nigh more than $24,000 in damages, but the Supreme Court said that he was entitled to no more than $1,000 under the federal Truth in Lending Act.

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