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Wilbur v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
86 F.3d 23 (2d Cir. 1996)


Facts

Nicolyn Wilbur (plaintiff) bought a car from Tri-Nordic Toyota (Tri-Nordic) (defendant) that Tri-Nordic had previously used as a demonstrator. Prior to purchase, Tri-Nordic disclosed to Wilbur that the car had been in an accident during the demonstration period, but had been completely repaired. Tri-Nordic also presented Wilbur with a copy of a New Vehicle Limited Warranty (warranty) created by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (Toyota) (defendant). The warranty booklet provided that the warranty went into effect on the date the vehicle was first put into use, which was also known as the in-service date. Tri-Nordic filled in the in-service date as the day Wilbur purchased the car. The warranty further stated that repairs resulting from an accident were not covered. The California Emission Control Warranty (CECW) section of the warranty booklet stated that the accident exclusion applied on the date the car was first placed into service if the car was used as a demonstrator. The following month, Wilbur discovered that the car was faulty. A Toyota dealer informed Wilbur that the necessary repairs were excluded from the warranty because the damage resulted from an accident. Wilbur filed suit against Tri-Nordic and Toyota, claiming violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 2301-12, in Toyota’s refusal to give effect to the warranty. Toyota moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion, finding that the accident exclusion applied during the demonstration period and that the repairs were therefore excluded from coverage. Wilbur appealed. Toyota argued that the CECW language clearly notified Wilbur that the exclusions applied on the date the car was first placed into service if the car was used for demonstration.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Oakes, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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