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Friday, 25 March 2016

FCA seeks dismissal of Ill. dealer suit alleging inflated sales

Fiat Chrysler dealers, members of the ubiquitous and litigious Napleton group, in Illinois and Florida sued the manufacturer in January, alleging that it inflated sales figures by paying dealers to report cars as sold at the end of the month - in legal terms, they allege corporate racketeering. Bonuses were funneled to conspiring dealers, as reported here by Bloomberg. FCA are seeking the dismissal of the claim, Automotive News reports.

Napleton’s Arlington Heights Motors Inc. v. FCA US LLC, formerly known as Chrysler Group Realty Company LLC, 16-cv-00403, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Driver of cloned car escapes speeding fine after telematics proves innocence

Fleet News reports that the owner of a car which had been cloned has escaped a speeding fine after showing with the aid of telematics that his hired car was miles away from the scene of the crime. Asset Protection Unit Limited ( was able to interrogate the In Car Cleverness telematics box and show where the car was at the relevant time. The police dropped the case when APU showed them the evidence.

German court rejects customer's bid to cancel VW purchase | Reuters

Reuters  reports that a court in Bochum has rejected a claim by the buyer of a VW Tiguan, who tried to reject it following the emissions scandal. The judge held that it was not the dealer's fault.

U.S. law firm says will pursue VW claims in Europe | Reuters

Reuters reports that U.S. law firm Hausfeld said it will pursue claims of European customers harmed by Volkswagen's emissions scandal. In December, Reuters reported a deal to finance litigation.

Classic cars permanently exempted from road tax in Budget -

Classic cars will be permanently exempted from VED the FT reports. From 1st April each year, vehicles constructed more than 40 years before the 1st January of that year will automatically be exempt from paying vehicle excise (or as the FT has it "exercise") duty. The change was announced in the budget.

The government statement is here.

VW's U.S. dealers seek reparations for emissions scandal

Automotive News  reports on VW's U.S. dealers campaign reparations for the emissions scandal.

EU trials new way to measure emissions, but will it make a difference?

Automotive News Europe reports  on the appearance of on-the-road emissions testing equipment in Europe.

Recent developments in European Consumer Law: Update VW case

The recent developments in European consumer law blog reports that following the establishment of a foundation to enable German and Austrian complainants assume VW Dutch courts, a new foundation has been set up to enable investors to bring claims there. More details here.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

U.S.: Maryland bill would require use of original parts in insurance repairs

A bill, GAM-HB1258 Summary 2016 Regular Session, in the Maryland General Assembly would force insurers to pay for original equipment parts for body repairs on new vehicles (up to two years old). After that repairers could use certified aftermarket components, too. Owners would still be able consent in writing to use uncertified aftermarket parts, if they wish.

The bill did not receive unanimous support (what, in the motor trade, ever does?). According to Automotive News, the Automotive Body Parts Association believes the law would take about consumer choice and raise insurance rates. "[It] is only good for the car companies, giving them a virtual monopoly on parts for the first two years of the vehicle's life," it said in a statement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bill received an adverse report from a committee in the House and was withdrawn: but there may be more attempts like it to change the law.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Garage owners and testers imprisoned for carrying out fraudulent MOTs

The owners of a garage and two testers who worked there have been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for conspiring fraudulently to issue MoT certificates. The case follows an investigation by DVSA, which showed that certificates were being issued for cars that had never been tested on the premises. It was also found that more than 4,000 certificates had been issued by one of the testers even though he had not worked there since 2003.
The garage also lost its authorisation to carry out tests.

Read more courtesy of Fleet News and Garagewire.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

France opens Volkswagen emissions scandal probe | Reuters

U.S.: Supreme Court holds Batmobile protected by copyright

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal against a decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Batmobile should be protected by copyright, and therefore that Mark Towle infringed copyright in it when he produced cars in the same shape. Interestingly, it seems that there isn't much of an argument that copyright could protect the design of the car itself: the original judge, and the appeal court, took the view that the car was a character in the Batman stories and that was what ensured it was protected.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Use of VM's trade mark online without consent

I blogged a while ago about a reference from the Hungarian courts to the Court of Justice. The case was an odd one, where a former Mercedes authorised repairer was accused of trade mark infringement because someone else's website was describing it as being authorised. Despite the repairer's attempts to get the information removed, it was still there. The Court of Justice has, thankfully, come to what must be the right decision in Daimler (Judgment) [2016] EUECJ C-179/15 (03 March 2016):  the ex-repairer is not infringing the manufacturer's trade mark rights.

Supreme Court extends concept of vicarious liability

In Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc [2016] UKSC 11 (2 March 2016)  the Supreme Court has taken a rather radical view of the doctrine of vicarious liability. Normally it would operate to make an employer liable for the acts of its employees in the course of doing their jobs: here, however, the employer was held liable for what might normally be considered a frolic of the employee's own - attacking a customer, apparently without provocation - on the basis that it was part of his job to attend to customers. The contretemps had begun at the cash desk where the employee was working, but he left it and followed the claimant to his car where he assaulted him. This, it was argued, broke nexus necessary for the traditional "close connection" test to be satisfied, and the claimant's lawyers had argued for a "representative capacity" test to be used instead - but the court considered this unnecessary, and found that the necessary close connection was indeed present.

"In the present case it was [the employee's] job to attend to
customers and to respond to their inquiries," said Lord Toulson in his
leading judgment. "His conduct in answering the claimant's request in a
foul-mouthed way and ordering him to leave was inexcusable but within
the 'field of activities' assigned to him. What happened thereafter was
an unbroken sequence of events."

Automakers win fight for diluted EU car-pollution test

Automakers win fight for diluted EU car-pollution test

New consumer video highlights automotive industry’s progress on air quality and CO2 - SMMT

New consumer video highlights automotive industry’s progress on air quality and CO2 - SMMT