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$6.3 Million Class Action Verdict Against Kia Motors America Reinstated by New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division

August 1, 2018

In a 38-page opinion issued July 18th, 2018, the New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision to toss a $6.3 million class action verdict against Kia Motors America, reinstating the full amount of the verdict plus counsel fees.  Feldman Shepherd attorneys Alan M. Feldman and Edward S. Goldis, together with co-counsel Michael Donovan, James Francis and Lisa Rodriguez, have litigated this case over the past 17 years.

The case involved the class’ claim that the Kia Sephia, sold from 1997 through 2000, contained a defect in the design of the braking system that caused premature wear of brake pads and rotors, necessitating replacement at approximately 10,000 mile intervals instead of the expected 20,000 mile minimum useful life.  Because Kia’s warranty did not cover brake components, Kia owners were compelled to spend substantial sums for additional brake repairs caused by the defective braking system.

In 2008, following a five-week trial in Union County, New Jersey, a jury awarded $750 to each of the 8,455 class members, for a total verdict of $6.3 million. However, the trial judge thereafter granted Kia’s post-trial motion seeking to have the verdict set aside, and ordered claims proceedings which resulted in damage awards of just over $40,000 to a small number of qualifying class members. The Appellate Division’s decision today reinstates the full amount of the verdict for the entire class.

According to attorney Alan Feldman, who served as co-lead counsel at trial, “the Appellate Division’s decision today vindicates this class of consumers who were sold defective cars and for whom justice has been delayed for far too long.  We are grateful to the Court for its thorough and considered opinion reinstating the jury’s verdict in favor of the class.”  Feldman added that “the result in this case represents the combined efforts of our trial and appellate team, which persevered for 10 long years after trial to finally obtain justice for this class of consumers.”

Feldman and Goldis, along with Donovan and Francis, also were successful in winning a $5.6 million verdict against Kia in a similar class action tried in Pennsylvania in 2005, which was later affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2011.  The Pennsylvania and New Jersey class actions were two of a small number of class actions tried to verdict in the United States.

In a 38-page opinion issued today, the New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision to toss a $6.3 million class action verdict against Kia Motors America, reinstating the full amount of the verdict plus counsel fees.  Feldman Shepherd attorneys Alan M. Feldman and Edward S. Goldis, together with co-counsel Michael Donovan, James Francis and Lisa Rodriguez, have litigated this case over the past 17 years.

The case involved the class’ claim that the Kia Sephia, sold from 1997 through 2000, contained a defect in the design of the braking system that caused premature wear of brake pads and rotors, necessitating replacement at approximately 10,000-mile intervals instead of the expected 20,000-mile minimum useful life.  Because Kia’s warranty did not cover brake components, Kia owners were compelled to spend substantial sums for additional brake repairs caused by the defective braking system.

In 2008, following a five-week trial in Union County, New Jersey, a jury awarded $750 to each of the 8,455 class members, for a total verdict of $6.3 million. However, the trial judge thereafter granted Kia’s post-trial motion seeking to have the verdict set aside, and ordered claims proceedings which resulted in damage awards of just over $40,000 to a small number of qualifying class members. The Appellate Division’s decision today reinstates the full amount of the verdict for the entire class.

According to attorney Alan Feldman, who served as co-lead counsel at trial, “the Appellate Division’s decision today vindicates this class of consumers who were sold defective cars and for whom justice has been delayed for far too long.  We are grateful to the Court for its thorough and considered opinion reinstating the jury’s verdict in favor of the class.”  Feldman added that “the result, in this case, represents the combined efforts of our trial and appellate team, which persevered for 10 long years after trial to finally obtain justice for this class of consumers.”

Feldman and Goldis, along with Donovan and Francis, also were successful in winning a $5.6 million verdict against Kia in a similar class action tried in Pennsylvania in 2005, which was later affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2011.  The Pennsylvania and New Jersey class actions were two of a small number of class actions tried to verdict in the United States.