Thursday

Toyota Paid $10 Million to Settle 4 Self Acceleration Deaths

Lots of folks heard about the state trooper in California who was killed, with family members, when his 2009 Lexus Es ran out of control, killing Saylor, his wife, brother in law and daughter. What no one heard about is the secret settlement that Toyota struck with them last fall.

Turns out that Toyota agreed to pay $10 million to settle the case brought by the families. The accident was one of the primary causes of the recall that ended up in the millions of Toyota vehicles over unintended acceleration vehicles recalled.

The settlement was to be secret but word of it leaked out just before Christmas 2010 when it was publicly reported by the LA Times newspaper. The leak is rumored to have come from the car dealership's attorney involved in the case.

As usual, part of the settlement was that Toyota did not admit that anything was wrong with the vehicle. In spite of the trooper's infamous 911 call, pleading for help - and in spite of the $10 million they paid out - and in spite of the secrecy requirement Toyota wanted - Toyota still insists that it was just the floor mats that caused the crash.

Ten million dollars because the floor mats were the cause? Yeah, right.

If you've got a lemon Toyota, be careful. And if you want to get rid of it, call us. Getting rid of lemon cars is what we do. Everyday.

Ford & Navistar Engine Troubles Mounting

Navistar and Ford are the subject of at least 5 major lawsuits over their faulty diesel engines in the 2003 through 2007 model year Fords. And now here comes another one.

The Navistar 6 liter engines are at the heart of the litigation. Ford put the Navistar engines in a variety of models before consumer complaints reached such a frenzy that they could no longer stand the heat. Ford bought the engines from Navistar and then the warranty claims apparently went wild, with numerous manufacturing and design defects alleged by numerous consumer-owners of the bad trucks.

Back in 2007 Ford filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Navistar over the faulty engines. This newest lawsuit was filed by a consumer in federal court in California against both Ford and Navistar and you can read the lawsuit papers (called the "Complaint") by clicking here. This case asks the court to make it a California-state-wide class action on behalf of all California consumers.

We've been seeing these bad diesel engine Ford truck cases for years now and have been dealing with them one at a time. Class actions are nice, and we handle them too, but many times an owner just wants to get rid of their bad vehicle and go on in life. It takes patience and perseverance to be willing to pursue a manufacturer not just for yourself, but also on behalf of every one of the victims who got stuck with a bad product.

These engines can cost thousands of dollars to replace and repairs, in our experience, seem to be little more than a band-aid that stalls off the bigger replacement cost that will eventually come anyway.

The result for consumers has been big money lost while owning the Ford diesel truck and just as big a loss when you try to trade it in or sell it - because the diesel truck's reputation has ruined the truck's value. After all, anyone who does just a little research on the internet will turn up tons of complaints from other consumers.

If you've got a bad Ford diesel truck - if you've paid money for repairs or engine replacement - you've got rights. If Ford won't help you, we will. Getting rid of lemon diesel Ford trucks is what we do. Everyday. Since 1978. It's only fair.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to drive a lemon.

Tuesday

Toyota: "We did nothing wrong but we'll pay $32.4 million more if the US stops investigating what we didn't do"

Toyota has agreed to pay the US another $32,400,000 to shut down the US federal government's safety investigation of its self-acceleration problems and its failure to report the defect to US safety investigators timely. That's on top of the $16.4 million it already paid toward the penalty.

For its part, government officials said they expected better cooperation out of Toyota next time while Toyota, for its part, said the payment enabled it to "turn the page" and move on with its business of making and selling cars.

By the end of this year Toyota will have recalled more vehicles in a single than any other known manufacturer ever faced while its market share fell dramatically. Meanwhile, questions still exist.

There is still no explanation for the state trooper whose Toyota-built car couldn't be stopped until it crashed and killed the trooper and his family members.

The man who was imprisoned for a Toyota vehicular homicide-related conviction was set free but still lost years of his life because Toyota swept its problem under the corporate rug.

The ex-Toyota lawyer whistle-blower is all but forgotten, even though he first publicly talked about Toyota's corporate policy of "playing hide the evidence and lie about it."

And the many lawsuits filed against Toyota were themselves almost all swept up into the massive multidistrict litigation that still churns away in a sunny LA federal courtroom.

Meanwhile, Toyota just wants to move on. Perhaps its settlement with federal safety investigators is a sign that it is finally beginning to recognize its own dirty laundry. For this Christmas, maybe all Toyota owners should ship a box of detergent to Toyota Motor Sales USA, 19001 South Western Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501. They could still use a good scrubbing.

If you've got a lemon Toyota, with Toyota's history of fight, stall, delay, and deny-at-all-costs, you need a lawyer that will fight for you. Get a Burdge attorney. Getting rid of Toyota lemons is what we do. We've been doing it since 1978. And making them pay your attorney fees in a lemon law case is just, well, justice.

Friday

The Hottest Hybrid Moves to China and Leaves US in the Cold - Fisker Karma Beats the Volt



If you were building the hottest looking plug in hybrid in the world, and it was priced just shy of $90,000, where would you market it first? Turns out the answer is China. And US buyers, standing in line with some 3,000 orders, aren't happy.

The reasons for the move are sensible, if not insulting to Detroit and US customers who have been lining up to get thier hands on the real thing. One look at the hot Karma model and you can sure see why everyone wants it. It's a four door sedan with lines that remind you of the best that Bentley or Jaguar makes if a fine luxury car. It easily beats the Chevy Volt in every department but price, but for the looks of it, price doesn't matter so much.

The Karma will get 300 miles with its high performance styling, 50 on just its electric battery pack alone before the conventional powertrain kicks in for another 250 miles of driving.

So why are they heading to China first?



First, the luxury car market is booming in China, where the economy is hungry for motor vehicles and the luxury segment is even hungrier.



Then there's Fisker's new partner, the China Grand Automotive Group. They just happen to be the number one passenger car company in China, with a dealer network over 200 strong and experience marketing luxury cars in China like Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and Lamborghini, selling more than $7 billion worth. They know what they are doing.

Then, to top it off, there's the Chinese government, which is pushing hard for the home market to adopt clean electric propulsion to clean up its dirty carbon footprint, widely discussed by visiting media at the Chinese Olympics. And Fisker is there to help, first with its sexy luxury Karma sedan. Next they plan to launch a family sedan.

So, US would-be buyers will have to settle for watching Fisker's hot luxury car on television when the cars hit the roads of China in April 2011. And when will they get their hands on one here in the US? No one is talking, but you can bet it won't be soon.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978.

Saturday

Giving Back with Backpacks Filled for the Needy


Each year the staff of Burdge Law Office does something for a local charity to help out the needy. This year we are supporting Fairhaven Church's drive to fill 1,000 Backpacks for the area's homeless, including needy children.

The entire staff joined in the effort to fill some of the one thousand backpacks with warm gloves, scarves, blankets for the kids, warm hats, food items, fast food restaurant gift cars, toiletry items and more. Now, with the drive winding down, it's great to see so many backpacks jammed full of needed items for the homeless in our home town community.

In the last year, attorney Burdge was also invited to several national and state Consumer Advocate seminars to give presentations to attorneys and judges and other professionals on the importance, value and reward of giving back to the community and the legal profession, based on research he and others have conducted on how the simple human act of sharing and giving impacts the world we live in, the legal profession, and each giver too.

The staff of our law firm has always sought to help the needy in our world and every one of us is proud to have contributed to the Fairhaven Church Backpacks for Target Dayton project. The homeless of every community can use a helping hand and we encourage you to help out in your home town too.

Giving is what makes the spirit of Christmas last all year long.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers all year 'round.

Friday

Honda Element Bites the Dust


After 8 years of trying, the odd-shaped Honda Element is coming to an end, Honda has announced.

It started out as a unique box design that has since been emulated and copied by other car builders, notably the best-selling Soul. Now, no longer unique, model year 2011 will be its last.

The numbers did it.

Honda sales were up last month by more than 15% but the Element itself fell more than 11%. While Honda sold about 325,000 of the odd-shaped cars mostly to younger owners, sales this year are down to only about 12,000.

Were they reliable? Apparently. The Honda Element had a run of 8 years and we never had a single lemon come in the door. Maybe that means you should get one while they are still on the dealer showroom floor.

Meanwhile, if you have another car that is a lemon, give us a call. We can get your money back or a new one for free and make the manufacturer pay the attorney fees so you won't have to. Of course, if you have a Honda Element, we won't be waiting for you to call.

Because life's too short to drive a lemon,
any kind of lemon.

Thursday

NOW is the time to get rid of a lemon vehicle

A consumer called us today and asked if they should file their Motorcycle Lemon Law case now or wait until spring since they aren't using the bike anyway. Good question.

Like boaters, most bikers don't use their bikes in the winter months in the northern US. Since they aren't riding, the motorcycle defects are not as important or bothersome to many bikers. So they tend to put off their complaints until they get their motorcycle out in the Spring months. That can be a problem.

Here's some reasons why now is the right time to get rid of your lemon motorcycle.

1. Your warranty is running out on you all the time. Manufacturers often argue that since months went by without a consumer complaint, then there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. They don't care if it was winter. They don't care if you were out of town. They don't care if you didn't need transportation because you were laid off. If there was no complaining then, to them, there was no problem. So, complain.

2. It takes time to process a Lemon Law claim. Starting your claim in the winter months gives you a better chance of having it resolved in time for you to be riding a new bike when the spring and summer months get here. If you wait until Springtime, then you probably will lose the whole summer while you put up with a bike that doesn't run right for even longer - right at the time when you wish you could be riding it.

3. It's the end of the year and the manufacturer will want to get it "off the books." Many manufacturers close out their financial books at the first of each year. If they have a claim that they can pay in December, their accountants almost always prefer it that way. You can take advantage of that.

So if you've got a lemon motorcycle, now is the right time to get rid of it. And if your dealer or your manufacturer won't help you out, then call us. Getting rid of lemon motorcycles is what we do. Everyday. Since 1978. Making them pay your legal costs too, well that's only fair.
Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to ride a bad bike.