Status hearing set for manufactured homes class action

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau May 22, 2008, 6:40am

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- A status hearing is scheduled for May 23 in the class action pending in the circuit court of Miller County, Ark., over charges for wheels and axles of manufactured homes.

On behalf of the potential class, Texarkana attorney Matt Keil of the Keil and Goodson law firm filed the original class complaint on Feb 17, 2005, against Clayton Homes Inc. and CMH Homes Inc.

The complaint accuses the defendants of charging for the manufactured homes' wheels and axles but never disclosing the charge to the purchaser. The charge for the wheels and axles "appears nowhere on any of the documents the plaintiffs are asked to sign during the purchase of the home," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs argue that the defendants represented to the purchaser that they are not buying the wheels and axles. Further, the defendants are accused of then taking the wheels and axles and reselling them to an outside company and retaining the profits of the sales.

The lawsuit is seeking a total of approximately $2,200 for each class member, $1,200 for the wheels and axles that they were unknowingly charged and $1,000 for the resale value.

In April, the case was stayed for mediation to be conducted under retired Judge Layn Phillips. If the parties were unable to resolve the case during mediation, Judge Hudson has ordered the defendants to respond to plaintiffs' numerous discovery requests.

Defendants CMH Homes and Clayton Homes believe that the plaintiffs cannot prevail on their claims because evidence shows the plaintiffs agreed to purchase a manufactured home, not wheels and axles.

As the nation's largest builder and retailer of manufactured housing, Clayton Homes builds, sells, finances, leases, and insures manufactured and modular homes, as well as re-locatable commercial and educational buildings. Clayton Homes' finance company, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. provides more than $11 billion in loans to its customers.

Circuit Court Judge Jim Hudson is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. cv-2005-72-2

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