Hart v. AutoWest Dodge, et al. 145 Cal.App.4th 495

Placer County Superior Court case no. SCV16942

Hon. Larry D. Gaddis

California Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate District case no. C050384

Justice Richard Sims III

Presiding Justices, Coleman Blease and Fred Morrison


Violation of Vehicle Leasing Act

Unfair Competition Law


Plaintiff/Appellant, Lisa Hart- Sharon L. Kinsey, Esq. (Kinsey Consumer Law Center)

Defendant/Respondent, AutoWest Dodge – Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (Kolar & Associates)


On April 27, 2000, Plaintiff, Lisa Hart leased a 2000 Dodge Durango (Vehicle 1) from defendant dealership for $430 per month.  The next day, she allegedly “discovered” it did not have a third back seat.  On April 29, 2000, Plaintiff returned the vehicle to Defendant and signed a new lease contract for another 2000 Dodge Durango (Vehicle 2) which had a third back seat.  Plaintiff alleged she was not told of the price increase regarding the lease of the 2nd vehicle.  In December 2002, plaintiff was unable to maintain the monthly payments and voluntarily returned the vehicle to terminate the contract.  On December 1, 2003, Plaintiff filed her Complaint for damages of $50,000.


Plaintiff alleged that AutoWest Dodge violated the Vehicle Leasing Act and Business and Professions Code §17200 by failing to disclose certain aspects of the transaction.  Plaintiff demanded rescission, punitive damages and attorney fees in the amount of $100,000.


AutoWest Dodge fully disclosed the terms of the transaction to Plaintiff who was trying to get out of the deal because she had buyer’s remorse and could no longer afford the vehicle.  Defendant offered Plaintiff $1,500 to settle.


The case came before the court on April 4, 2005 to start a jury trial.  After several motions in limine, AutoWest Dodge moved for Non-Suit based on Plaintiff’s inability to provide evidence supporting her claims.  Defendant’s Motion was granted and the court dismissed Plaintiff’s case.  AutoWest Dodge then made a Motion to Recover its attorney fess in the amount of $51,580.16.  The court granted AutoWest Dodge’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Judgment was entered in AutoWest Dodge’s favor in the amount of $51,580.16.

On August 1, 2005, Plaintiff appealed the judgment.  The Appellate Court affirmed the ruling and awarded AutoWest Dodge its attorney’s fees and costs totaling $51,580.16 against Plaintiff.