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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 (1996)


Nicolyn Wilbur (plaintiff) purchased a used Toyota Camry from a Toyota dealership in Vermont. The car had been a demonstration model at the dealership. While being used as a demonstration model, the car was involved in a rear-end collision. The dealership informed Wilbur of the accident and assured her that the collision had not caused any structural damage to the car. With her purchase, Wilbur received a New Vehicle Limited Warranty that excluded repairs resulting from an accident. The warranty’s effective date was the date the vehicle was put into use, which the warranty form called the vehicle’s in-service date. The dealership listed the in-service date on the warranty as the date that Wilbur purchased the car. The car’s warranty book included an additional emissions warranty that identified the warranty period as beginning on the date the car was put into service as a demonstration car. One month after buying the car, Wilbur drove it to California. During her drive, she discovered multiple problems with the car. In California, Wilbur took the car to a Toyota dealership and learned that the car had structural damage requiring $9500 in repairs. No dealership, however, was willing to honor her warranty. The dealerships told her that because repairs due to accidents were excluded from her warranty, the structural damage caused by the vehicle’s accident as a demonstration model was not covered. Wilbur sued Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. (Toyota) (defendant), alleging, among other things, a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA). Toyota moved for summary judgment. The district court granted Toyota’s motion, finding that the warranty went into effect when the car was first put into use as a demonstration car at the dealership, and, as a result, the warranty’s accident exclusion applied. Wilbur appealed. On appeal, Toyota argued that the language in the emissions warranty made clear that the New Vehicle Limited Warranty was effective from the date the car was put into service as a demonstration car.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Oakes, J.)

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