Warranty Team Secures Complete Defense Verdict in Chassis Case


April 12, 2013

Chicago, IL –Segal McCambridge attorneys Paul E. Wojcicki and Anastasios T. (“Tasos”) Foukas secured a complete jury verdict for the defense on behalf of client Workhorse Custom Chassis, LLC, on April 12, 2013. The case was tried in Chicago before Judge John C. Griffin in the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois.

In Janet Janis v. Workhorse Custom Chassis, LLC., the defense contended – and the jury agreed – that the plaintiff did not comply with the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by choosing to directly file suit against Workhorse before alerting the company of her complaint or by filing a claim with the Better Business Bureau. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act governs consumer product warranties. Lawmakers established the Act to protect consumers from faulty or difficult-to-understand warranties and disclaimers, and this case will further define its coverage. Segal McCambridge showed that had Workhorse, which prides itself on its customer service, been alerted to the situation before the lawsuit, it would have worked to resolve the matter.

Workhorse is a chassis manufacturer, producing the frame, wheel and electrical components for motor homes. In August 2004, the plaintiff bought a Winnebago motor home with a Workhorse chassis. Two years later, Workhorse identified a fuel clip on the GM engine of its chassis that was improperly treated and subject to breakage. The company immediately issued a voluntary recall and provided all known owners with a replacement fuel clip. However, the plaintiff never received the recall notice and later experienced a fuel leak in her RV when the clip in the engine broke.

Although the clip was replaced, plaintiff claimed that damage from the fuel seeping into her RV made it forever uninhabitable and unusable.  Plaintiff never made any attempt to contact Workhorse until her attorney mailed a letter demanding a buy-back of the RV two days before filing suit.

Paul Wojcicki, lead attorney on the case, believes part of the team’s success came from its candor with the jury. “We trusted the jury to be fair and conscientious,” says Wojcicki. “We simply presented the facts in an unvarnished way and let them speak for themselves.”

The Plaintiff sought $49,999 in damages (to prevent Workhorse from transferring the case to federal court) for the alleged breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. Segal McCambridge attorney John S. Marrese also played a significant role in the defense effort in pre-trial proceedings.  Dmitry Feofavnov of ChicagoLemonLaw.com and Peter Lubin of DiTommaso & Lubin represented the plaintiff.