Following a five-week trial of a class action in the matter of Regina Little v. Kia Motors America, Inc., a jury in Union County, New Jersey found in favor of the plaintiff class and against Kia Motors America, Inc. (“Kia”) in the amount of $750 per class member, for a total verdict in excess of $6 million. The class was represented by lawyers Alan M. Feldman and Edward S. Goldis, who collaborated with other law firms to achieve this successful result. The case involved the plaintiffs’ claim that the Kia Sephia, sold in New Jersey from 1997 through 2000, contained a defect in the braking system that caused premature wear of brake pads and rotors, necessitating replacement at approximately 10,000 mile intervals. Because Kia’s warranty did not cover brake components, Kia owners spent substantial sums for additional brake repair expense caused by the defective braking system.
In addition to finding that KMA had breached its express and implied warranty to purchasers of the cars, the jury also found that KMA had violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which will obligate KMA to pay class counsel fees and costs over and above the $6 million payment to class members. A petition for counsel fees and costs has been filed before the trial judge, the Honorable Katherine R. DuPuis of the Superior Court of New Jersey. The same team of attorneys was also successful in winning a $5.6 million verdict against Kia in a similar class action tried in Pennsylvania in 2005.