Suit alleges auto dealer failed to honor warranty claim

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 1, 2009, 5:27pm

GALVESTON – A Galveston County physician says the Ford Motor Co. and a Galveston dealership refused to honor a warranty claim after his vehicle experienced a major breakdown in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in August 2008, recent court documents say.

Dr. Mickey J. Viator's deceptive trade lawsuit, filed on March 23 in Galveston County District Court, against Ford and Sand Dollar Autoplex Ltd. seeks damages totaling up to $75,000 from the defendants.

Ford is accused of failing to make necessary repairs as specified by its warranties while Sand Dollar is blamed for not conducting a thorough inspection.

The original petition says on Aug. 13 Viator purchased a 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac from Sand Dollar and was provided with written representation that the business conducted a 115-point inspection as part of the Ford Certified Pre-Owned program with any defective items having been replaced or repaired.

The Sport Trac carried a three-month/3,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty, a six-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance as well as registered 23,449 miles.

In early September, the plaintiff and his family traveled to Arlington in the vehicle only to suffer what the suit describes as catastrophic engine failure.

Viator says a rusty radiator clamp caused a huge loss in coolant that led to the engine's demise.

At the time of the loss, the Sport Trac had amassed fewer than 24,600 miles.

He subsequently took the vehicle to an area dealership for repairs, which he says Ford declined to cover on the spot.

"Despite being well-within the temporal and mileage parameters of the comprehensive limited and powertrain limited warranties, the plaintiff's warranty claim was denied," the suit says. "Such denial was breach of warranty and included a rejection of his claim for roadside assistance."

The plaintiff argues he was greatly inconvenienced having to pay for the repairs himself.

"Being stranded nearly 300 miles away from home caused him hardship, inconvenience, and additional expenses for an unplanned and unexpected need to secure lodging, food, and transportation," the suit says.

"Once the vehicle was repaired, he incurred additional expenses in traveling to Arlington to get it and return home."

Two months after the ordeal, Viator submitted a written notice detailing the complaints associated with the transaction to the defendants.

Because of his alleged experiences, he seeks restitution for repair costs, out-of-expenses, and loss of use as well as a jury trial.

Houston attorney Dwaine M. Massey is representing Viator, and Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV0385

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