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Ohio Appeals Court Upholds Judgment Against Auto Body Shop in Diminished Value Case

Evidence at trial showed that Sharon Woods Collision Center violated Nissan’s repair recommendations by using structural bonding adhesive to attach panels to Jeremy Williams’ 2010 Nissan Maxima.

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Jason Stahl has 26 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 14 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

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In a case that spanned almost eight years, the Ohio District Court of Appeals upheld a judgment against Sharon Woods Collision Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, for violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA), awarding consumer Jeremy Williams $105,462.

Williams was the owner of a 2010 Nissan Maxima, which was involved in an accident. He took the vehicle to Sharon Woods for repair, which, according to court documents, “represented to consumers it performed all repairs to automotive specifications with the intent to restore vehicles to their pre-loss conditions, and that its technicians were trained and certified in the latest automotive advancements.” It also represented that it had I-CAR Gold Class status and repaired vehicles according to I-CAR guidelines.

Williams subsequently filed a complaint alleging that Sharon Woods had committed unfair, deceptive and unconscionable acts in connection with a consumer transaction.

Evidence at trial showed that Sharon Woods violated Nissan’s repair recommendations by using structural bonding adhesive to attach panels to the vehicle. Expert witnesses testified that some repairs in the estimate were not completed, and that some of the repairs had been done in an unworkmanlike and sloppy manner. They also testified that due to the use of the bonding adhesive and the shoddy repairs, the vehicle was unsafe to drive because it was no longer crashworthy. Also, regarding the vehicle’s diminished value, that it was “worthless” after the repair.

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The jury found in favor of Williams on both of his CSPA claims, awarding him $8,079. However, Williams then filed a motion for treble damages, attorney fees and costs, and the trial court granted the motion and awarded Williams $105,462, plus interest and costs. Sharon Woods filed a motion for a new trial on the basis of misconduct of the prevailing party, newly discovered evidence and errors of law at the trial, but the trial court overruled that motion and the appeal followed.

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