Q: Does my family member have a case for innocent, or even negligent misrepresentation?
A family member of mine recently purchased a used car in California, opting to enter into an “as is” contact because the car dealer showed them paperwork certifying the condition of the car (checked/signed off on by a mechanic of his choice), as well as a clean accident report. Due in large part to these statements made by the car dealer, as well as paperwork to back up said statements, they were comfortable purchasing the car without a warranty. Two weeks have gone by, and the car now has a severe transmission fluid leak. After taking the car to an independent mechanic, they confirmed that the original engine was replaced with a junk engine, something that any mechanic would have been able to reasonably confirm after seeing the bright green spray paint/drag marks where the engine was haphazardly replaced. The car dealer denies knowing about the engine/transmission fluid leak. The vehicle cannot be safely driven anymore. Do we have a case for innocent or negligent misrepresentation?
A: Like most attorney responses...it depends. The fact pattern suggests your friend had the vehicle inspected by "mechanic of his choice." This implies that your friend's mechanic inspected the vehicle and found no issues. Or it could imply that your friend did not have the vehicle inspected and therefore took the risk. These are not simply cases so your friend should call and consult with an attorney that handles dealership fraud cases. The cases are very fact specific and the attorney would need to review all the documents and ask many follow up questions. After the attorney has answers to questions and reviews the documents, the attorney will be able to offer options to your friend.
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