Milwaukee’s Vince Menga, a lawyer specializing in “lemon laws” has sued Tesla Motors over what he claims is a defective Model S. The suit has brought to light Tesla’s sales contract, which demands any lawsuits or arbitration be handled by California’s court system. But the King of Lemon Laws thinks he’s got a case that will end up in Wisconsin court. This is one lawsuit worth watching.
While initially I dismissed this story as another attempt by a lawyer to cash in on the latest craze, if the accusations are true, the Model S at the center of this story certainly seems like a lemon. Purchased in March of 2013 by Robert Montgomery for $94,770, the Model S was afflicted with a variety of woes, from not starting or going into “Drive” to non-functioning door handles and a battery that wouldn’t charge.
In the lawsuit, Menga claims that the Tesla spent more than two of its first five months off the road for service issues. This includes time lost transporting the Tesla between Wisconsin and the closest service center in Chicago. Montgomery filed for a buyback under Wisconsin lemon law three times, and three times Tesla ignored his request. For a company that prides itself on customer satisfaction, this is unacceptable, no?
Enter the King of Lemon Laws, who has reviewed the sales contract and calls it unusual. As already stated, any lawsuit must be filed in Northern California, where Tesla is headquartered, and either Tesla or the owner can demand arbitration, which could prevent a court case. Any settlement must be kept secret as well. Menga believes that Wisconsin law supersedes Tesla’s sales contract though, and he is obviously hoping for a big payday from the darling of Wall Street. He also takes a dig at Tesla’s direct sales model, which despite popular support has drawn the nationwide ire of the powerful car dealer lobby.
Knowing this lawsuit could also bring him a bit of Internet fame, Menga went ahead and made a video for the lawsuit too. Because every lawsuit should get its own viral video.
As this story gains traction, will Elon Musk himself chime in? Is Menga just another ambulance chaser, or did Robert Montgomery really end up with a $98,000 lemon?
Source: USA Today | Image: Vince Menga