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Alvarez v. American Isuzu Motors

March 30, 2001

MARIAN ALVAREZ, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
AMERICAN ISUZU MOTORS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gallagher

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County

Honorable Robert Gordon, Judge Presiding.

Plaintiff Marian Alvarez appeals from an order of the trial court setting aside a jury verdict in plaintiff's favor on her breach of implied warranty of merchantability claim against defendant American Isuzu Motors. Plaintiff argues on appeal that the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. We affirm.

On June 13, 1996, plaintiff purchased a 1996 Isuzu Rodeo automobile from Schaumburg Isuzu, an authorized dealer of automobiles manufactured and exported to the United States by Isuzu Motors of America and distributed by defendant. The price of the Rodeo, including taxes and title charges, was $26,326.35. Defendant's new vehicle limited warranty, as stated in the warranty booklet accompanying the Rodeo, covered the car for 36 months or 50,000 miles, whichever came sooner, and warranted that the car would be free of defects in materials and workmanship during the warranty period. Any Isuzu dealer would make the repairs necessary to correct defects covered by the warranty and the buyer should allow a reasonable time for such repairs to be made. The warranty specifically excluded coverage for defects or malfunctions occurring due to the buyer's misuse of the car or negligence in maintaining it. Additional warranties covered the "Power Train" and the exterior finish of the car. The Rodeo had approximately 200 miles on it when plaintiff bought the car.

Six weeks after the purchase, plaintiff began experiencing difficulties with the car. Thereafter followed a series of return visits to Schaumburg Isuzu for a myriad of problems. The litany of plaintiff's complaints and the concomitant repairs by Schaumburg Isuzu is as follows:

Date Problem(s) Repair(s)

July 24, 1996 Check Engine light on Repaired oxygen sensor

Antifreeze leak Replaced radiator hose

August 29, 1996 Scraping sound on right side of car Repaired right front brake caliper; cleaned and lubed brake pads

November 11, 1996 Radio inoperable Radio functioned normally; no problem found

Check Engine light on Engine misfire caused light on; no problem found

Oil change Oil changed

January 22, 1997 Transmission shifting prematurely and jerking (car had 9,000 miles) Parts ordered: transmission inhibitor switch and ...


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