For over thirty years the partners at Callahan, Thompson, Sherman & Caudill LLP have been representing Automobile Dealerships in California. Our group has the benefit of experienced litigators, with trial experience and class action trial experience, who have defended every imaginable type of claim that could be asserted against the Automobile Dealer. We also have the benefit of counsel who have been directly involved in the day-to-day operations of dealerships. We know the business and our experience and knowledge is unsurpassed in this area of law.
The issues dealerships face are unique and to achieve the most favorable result you need someone who understands the issues. Our knowledge and experience not only allows us to accurately evaluate any exposure but also to develop creative strategies to resolve cases quickly and favorably. We have a proven track record whether it is a simple slip and fall in the service department or managing the defense of class action lawsuits involving hundreds of dealerships.
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of bringing lawsuits involving minor statutory violations of the Automobile Sales Finance Act, the Vehicle Leasing Act, the Truth in Lending Act and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act either as an individual or class action. We are very familiar with the members of the plaintiff’s bar who typically bring these cases and we recognize that these cases are solely driven by attorney’s fees. As a result of our reputation in the industry we can achieve better results.
For instance, in one class action case we successfully defended the dealership and obtained a $1.5 million award against the plaintiffs. Our willingness to take matters to trial and aggressively pursue all remedies available to dealerships provides us with a stronger negotiating position in other cases. Sometimes, we need to direct our focus on the manufacturer or lender who refuses to step up to their obligations. We have also been successful in obtaining judgments against them when they fail to do so. In addition, we have many published decisions for dealerships which demonstrate to the industry our ability to fight cases at all levels.
We also handle all of the traditional claims every dealer faces, including employment law issues (harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and wage & hour issues), products liability, premises liability, bodily injury, negligent repair and lemon law claims. In addition to consumer claims, we defend dealerships on accusations brought by the DMV, the Attorney General, the District Attorney or City Attorney, the Bureau of Automotive Repair and other regulatory agencies. More importantly, we attempt to keep Dealerships from any type of legal problem by conducting audits of deal files, approval of advertisements, training of dealership personnel and providing day to day advice on any aspect of a vehicle transaction, personnel decision or repossession of a vehicle.
When the time comes to buy or sell a vehicle dealership we can provide advice, draft the purchase and sale agreements including the dealership and the land and management agreements in order to transition the dealership from one owner to another.
Our goal is to keep your dealership out of problems and out of Court. When a problem does arise we aggressively attempt to resolve it at the outset. We are sympathetic to the dealer’s principal and his/her concerns over higher insurance premiums, cancellation or coverage. Over the years we have worked with all of the major insurance carriers in the automobile dealership arena. As a result, we know their policies and can offer the best advice to your dealership on the most cost effective manner in which to resolve cases. We have developed cost effective programs with dealerships and carriers to deal with these concerns which we can discuss in more detail upon request.
With seasoned trial counsel in each of our offices, we can handle the needs of your dealership throughout the state while minimizing travel costs and related expenses. The biographies of the Automobile Dealership Practices Group are provided on our website. Feel free to contact any one of them with any questions you might have at (949) 261-2872.