7/3/14 – Appellate Court Finds “All Costs Recoverable” Under Lemon Law
The court’s opinion, which was delivered by the Honorable Carol Higbee on July 2, 2014, found that the Lemon Law “should be interpreted liberally since the expressed general intent of the Lemon Law is to protect the new car consumer”.
The Appellate Division held that the Lemon Law requires that a “consumer is to be made whole for all costs associated with the purchase as long as they are arranged by the dealer”. Therefore, if a new car customer buys optional protection packages — such as window etching, key replacement or roadside assistance services — through the dealer, the costs of those packages must also be reimbursed under the Lemon Law.
Moreover, the Appellate Division held that the Lemon Law authorizes the award of attorney’s fees, if the customer needs to hire an attorney “to obtain relief from any options sold through the dealer, as part of the purchase transaction”.
The case was argued by Andrew R. Wolf of The Wolf Law Firm LLC on April 29, 2014. Counsel Andrew W. Li, and Christopher J. McGinn of the Law Offices of Christopher J. McGinn (who co-represented Mr. Casal in the case), appeared on the briefs.
In Casal, the Appellate Division has reinforced that the citizens of New Jersey are protected by some of the strongest consumer laws in the country. The Wolf Law Firm is proud of the active role we continue to play in vindicating the rights of New Jersey consumers.
If you have recently purchased a vehicle that might be a “lemon”, please contact us. The Wolf Law Firm, LLC may be able to help.
3/28/14 — Court Grants Final Approval of Live Nation Settlement
The Wolf Law Firm, LLC is pleased to announce that the District Court has issued its Order Granting Final Approval of the Settlement reached by the parties in the Katz v. Live Nation class action.
The lawsuit charged Live Nation with violating New Jersey consumer protection laws when it charged “parking fees” and certain other fees for events at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. Live Nation has denied any wrongdoing.
Under the settlement, customers who bought tickets for PNC Bank Arts Center concerts online between June 23, 2003 and June 15, 2011 are entitled to three free tickets to select events during the 2014 through 2017 concert seasons, and a coupon code for a $5.00 discount towards a future online ticket purchase.
To claim their free ticket codes and coupon codes, Settlement Class members who received their notice by e-mail must submit their claims online by no later than April 30, 2014 and Settlement Class members who received their notice by regular mail must submit their claims online by no later than May 10, 2014. Live Nation will announce eligible events on a rolling basis over the next four concert seasons.
Further information is available at www.LiveNationSettlement.com or by calling the class action administrator at 855-569-5890.
Class members may also obtain additional information about the settlement by contacting either of law firms appointed to represent the class — The Wolf Law Firm, LLC at 732-545-7900 or Squitieri & Fearon, LLP at 212-421-6492.
Remember, Settlement Class members who received their notice by e-mail must submit their claims online by no later than April 30, 2014 and Settlement Class members who received their notice by regular mail must submit their claims online by no later than May 10, 2014!
5/31/13 – Appellate Court: Debt Collector Accused of Unfair Collection Practices Cannot Escape Class Action by Invoking Arbitration Clause.
The Wolf Law Firm and Joseph A. Mullaney III of the Law Office of Dimitrios Kolovos have filed a putative class action inBlaine v. Pressler & Pressler, LLP against Pressler & Pressler, LLP (the largest debt collection firm in New Jersey) for allegedly adding 25% attorney’s fees to Chase credit card debts that customers did not owe under their contracts, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.A. 1692. View the Complaint
After the class action was filed, Pressler & Pressler filed a motion seeking to stay the class action suit and to instead compel individual arbitration of each claim, under a clause in the Chase credit card contract that restricts the customer’s rights to sue Chase, its assignees, or their agents. This motion, had it been successful, would have negated the collective strength that comes from a class action – one of the most effective tools available to every-day individuals and consumers who would otherwise fall prey to unlawful debt collection practices. Fortunately, the Superior Court denied Pressler & Pressler’s motion because the Chase contract specifically excludes “third party debt collectors” from the arbitration clause unless Chase or its assignee were sued as codefendants with the debt collector. View the Order
Pressler & Pressler filed an appeal, contending that the Superior Court had erred by finding that the law firm was not covered by the Chase arbitration clause. It was Pressler & Pressler’s position on appeal that it could be both a “debt collector”– which would not be entitled to arbitration under the credit card agreement — and, at the same time, an “agent” of Chase’s assignee (a debt buying company called Midland Funding) which could compel arbitration under the credit card agreement.
The Appellate Division entirely disagreed with Pressler & Pressler and, on May 31, 2013, rendered its decision. The Appellate Division found that Pressler & Pressler must be treated as a debt collector rather than as an agent because the law firm functioned only to serve Midland Funding for the purpose of collecting overdue credit card debts. Therefore, “for the purposes of the arbitration clause at issue here, a debt collector cannot also be an agent” because “[t]o so hold would be to require an absurd result: that is, a claim against a debt collector only must go to arbitration because it is an agent, and at the same time, must be excluded from arbitration because it is a debt collector. We do not read the Cardmember Agreement to require that absurd result”.
Debt collection can be a murky and confusing area of the law, with oftentimes large corporations and their law firms arrayed against everyday working people. The Wolf Law Firm is proud that its efforts have made the playing field that much more level for the average consumer.
If you have been the victim of an improper debt collection practice, please contact us. The Wolf Law Firm, LLC may be able to help.
5/29/2013: State of New Jersey Brings Lawsuit Against Gas Stations Selling Aviation Fuel as Unleaded Gasoline to Unsuspecting Motorists
Six gas stations in Mercer, Monmouth, Somerset, and Union counties are alleged to have received approximately 65,000 gallons of aviation gasoline. The gas stations allegedly advertised and sold the aviation gasoline as unleaded regular, plus, or premium motor fuel, which consumers unknowingly purchased. Aviation gasoline, or “avgas”, is used for fuel by aircraft and, unlike gasoline for motor vehicles, contains tetraethyl lead, a toxic substance which can damage the catalytic converters and oxygen sensors in cars. The Division contends that these actions constitute multiple violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Motor Fuel Retail Sales Act, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Federal Clean Air Act.
The State’s lawsuit is very similar to the class-action lawsuit which The Wolf Law Firm filed in December 2012 seeking restitution and an award of civil damages against Hess Corporation for its illegal actions following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. View the First Amended Complaint In this on-going lawsuit, it has been alleged that at least one Hess gas station pumped diesel fuel, advertised and sold as regular, plus, or premium gasoline, into the cars of unknowing customers. The owners of those vehicles can face a potential risk of significant problems, because diesel fuel can damage the engine, fuel line, spark plugs and filters of their vehicles. These actions are alleged to be violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Motor Fuel Retail Sales Act, and the Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act, which entitle consumers to compensatory and statutory damages, attorneys fees and costs, and other relief through a civil lawsuit.
The Wolf Law Firm is gratified to see the Division of Consumer Affairs taking such an active role in protecting the rights of consumers in New Jersey. We believe that it is only through the combined efforts of state agencies and private actions by consumers that wrongful and deceptive trade practices will be curtailed in New Jersey.
If you have been the victim of a deceptive trade practice or misrepresentation, please contact us. The Wolf Law Firm, LLC may be able to help.
11/17/2010: The Wolf Law Firm, LLC Partner Andrew R. Wolf Honored by Legal Services of New Jersey
At its annual Champions of Justice reception on November 17, 2010, Legal Services of New Jersey honored Mr. Wolf with the Debevoise-Eakeley Award to recognize “his unparalleled support for Legal Services, most notably through securing many hundreds of thousands of dollars in cy pres awards for Legal Services of New Jersey, thereby helping support our critical work during extraordinarily difficult financial times.”
5/3/2010: Court Approves Settlement in Class Action Against Bank of America
If you have been the victim of a wrongful or abusive repossession, please contact us. The Wolf Law Firm, LLC may be able to help.