An Orange County couple is claiming a Houston dealership sold them a "lemon."

John and Jennifer Estilette are suing the Ford Motor Co., Champion Ford and Kinsel Ford for the price of their Ford Freestyle, $22,134.81, economic damages and "an additional sum to compensate" their attorney.

The plaintiffs filed their original petition with the Jefferson County District Court on May 23. Court assignment is pending.

According to the Estilettes' petition, on June 29, 2005, the couple purchased a 2005 Ford Freestyle form the Houston dealership Champion Ford.

"At this time, defendant represented to plaintiffs that such vehicle was safe, dependable and fit for the purpose for which it was marketed," the suit said.

"Subsequent to the purchase of such vehicle, it became necessary for plaintiffs to have certain repairs performed, which were covered by the vehicles warranty."

The suit goes on to say the couple has taken the vehicle in for repairs seven times since they purchased it.

"This repair work was performed at the shops of defendant, Kinsel Ford and Champion," the suit said. "These defendants failed to properly repair the vehicle in question. It has become clear to plaintiffs that defendants' representations were false, misleading and deceptive in that the vehicle was a 'lemon' and not fit for the purpose for which it was intended."

The suit says the vehicle's transmission and CV joints had to be replaced and the steering wheel had to be straitened.

"These are only the more serious of the problems they have experienced," said Brandon Monk, attorney for the plaintiffs, in a letter he wrote to Ford Motor Co. "After repeated attempts, the vehicle has still not been satisfactorily repaired and is currently a danger to Mr. And Mrs. Estilette and their four sons, as well as the public."

The suit cites the Texas Lemon Law and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act as grounds for the lawsuit.

The Texas Lemon Law is a state law that helps consumers buy or lease new motor vehicles and have repeated problems getting their vehicles properly repaired.

The suit also says the actions of the defendants were committed intentionally. "That is, defendants had actual awareness of the falsity, deception or unfairness of the act or practice, coupled with specific intent that plaintiffs act in detrimental reliance on the falsity or deception or in detrimental ignorance of the unfairness."

Monk is an attorney for the McPherson, Monk, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley & Steele law firm.

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