July 16, 2008
Kia Class Action Appealed to Pennsylvania Supreme Court
As reported by the Legal Intelligencer, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear the following four issues from the Kia class action in Samuel-Bassett v. Kia Motors America, Inc.:
whether the fact-specific claim that the class representative's brake express warranty was breached can be certified and tried on a classwide basis;
whether Kia's due process rights were violated when trial court Judge Mark I. Bernstein entered judgment for the class without requiring individual proof of the breach of the class members' express limited warranty contracts;
whether the trial court's award of a $1 million risk multiplier to attorney fees violated U.S. Supreme Court precedent and if Pennsylvania courts must follow U.S. Supreme Court precedent about federal fee shifting statutes;
whether an attorney fee can be awarded under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) -- which requires that fee awards be entered as part of the judgment -- when final judgment was entered at the trial court level before the fee award is entered.
Plaintiffs' instituted the action over allegedly defective brakes and were awarded $5.6 million. The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas also awarded plaintiffs' attorneys $4.13 million in fees.
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