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Consumer Protection — Lemon Law — Magnuson-Moss

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit


Consumer Protection — Lemon Law — Magnuson-Moss

It was not error to submit both the plaintiff’s Lemon Law claim and his Magnuson-Moss claim to the jury.

“The court did not err in this case by submitting the Magnuson-Moss claim to the jury. The jury was instructed that the elements of the Magnuson-Moss claim were: (1) a defect, (2) covered by warranty, (3) a reasonable opportunity for the manufacturer to repair, and (4) the manufacturer’s failure to repair within a reasonable time. Those elements overlapped substantially with the Lemon Law claim. The evidence was clearly sufficient to support a verdict as to liability, which was the only issue presented to the jury. The Magnuson-Moss claim also was not irrelevant because the court might have awarded equitable relief available only under federal law. Also, Burzlaff might still have recovered attorney fees and costs under his federal claim even if the jury had found for Thoroughbred on the Lemon Law claim. See 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)(2). The availability of equitable relief is relevant even though Burzlaff did not specifically request it beyond the generic prayer for ‘all such other relief as the Court deems just and equitable’ in his complaint. The district court should award the prevailing party any relief to which he is entitled, whether or not he has asked for it in his complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(c).”


13-2520 Burzlaff v. Thoroughbred Motorsports, Inc.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Goodstein, Mag. J., Hamilton, J.

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