AutosConsumer, auto safety groups urge veto on bill to...

Consumer, auto safety groups urge veto on bill to change lawsuit limits

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Groups that fight for consumers and auto safety are urging Governor Gavin Newsom to veto a bill that they say would make it harder for Californians who allege fraud or get stuck with a “lemon” vehicle to prove their case. Senate Bill 71 raises the limit from $25,000 to $35,000 to avoid being moved to limited civil court – where the discovery process and the number of depositions are limited.

Michael Brooks, executive director, Center for Auto Safety, contends this change would put people who buy mid-range vehicles at a disadvantage.

“What they’re doing is raising the limit to $35,000,” he said. “And then, everyone under that bar is going to find it much more difficult to succeed when they have a defective vehicle that qualifies as a lemon.”

The bill is supported by debt collectors and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents the auto industry. The Alliance, in a letter to lawmakers, said the change would, quote, “benefit consumers and the auto industry by reducing litigation costs and accelerating case timelines in lemon law cases.”

Brooks said that line of argument does not hold water.

“It’s being passed off as a bill that’s somehow going to simplify the process for consumers, but what it actually is going to do is limit their ability to prove their case,” Brooks implored.

In limited civil court, the time period for filing appeals is shortened to 30 days, and there is a cap on damages that a judge or jury can award. The bill would also raise the limit in small claims court from $10,000 to $12,500.

Grupos de consumidores y seguridad automotriz urgen vetar ley para cambiar límites en demandas judiciales

auto safety groups

Grupos que luchan por los consumidores y la seguridad automotriz llaman al gobernador Gavin Newsom a vetar un proyecto de ley que, segun ellos, haria mas dificil probar caso a los californianos que alegan fraude o se quedan atorados con un vehiculo denominado como “defectuoso”. El proyecto de ley 71 del Senado eleva el limite de $25,000 a $35,000 para evitar ser trasladado a un tribunal civil limitado, donde el proceso de descubrimiento y el numero de declaraciones son limitados.

Michael Brooks, del Center for Auto Safety, afirma que este cambio pondria en desventaja a las personas que compran vehiculos de rango medio.

“Lo que estan haciendo es elevar el limite a $35,000,” asegura Brooks. “Y luego, a todos los que esten por debajo les resultara mucho mas dificil tener exito cuando tengan un vehiculo defectuoso que califique como “lemon.””

El proyecto de ley esta apoyado por cobradores de deudas y la Alianza para la Innovacion Automotriz, que representa a la industria automotor. La Alianza, en una carta a los legisladores, dijo que el cambio seria, “beneficiar a los consumidores y a la industria automotriz mediante la reduccion de costos de litigio y la aceleracion de plazos en los casos de autos defectuosos.”

Brooks dice que esa linea de argumentacion no se sostiene.

“Se presenta como un proyecto de ley que de alguna manera va a simplificar el proceso para los consumidores, pero lo que en realidad va a hacer es limitar su capacidad para probar su caso,” dice Brooks.

En los tribunales civiles limitados, el plazo para presentar apelaciones se reduce a 30 dias, y hay un limite maximo de danos y perjuicios que un juez o jurado puede conceder. El proyecto de ley tambien aumentaria el limite en los tribunales de demandas menores de $10,000 a $12,500.

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