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Blackston v. Hyundai Motor America

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

March 27, 2014

LISA BLACKSTON Plaintiff,
v.
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA, Defendant.

Submitted: December 6, 2013

Upon Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, GRANTED.

Upon Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, MOOT.

Lisa Blackston, pro se

Sean A. Meluney, Esq., White and Williams, Attorney for Defendant

OPINION

M. Jane Brady Judge

I. Introduction

This action concerns whether the defendant, Hyundai Motor America ("HMA"), breached a warranty provided to the plaintiff, Lisa Blackston, relating to Blackston's 2000 Hyundai Accent (the "Vehicle"). Presently before the Court is (1) a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Blackston on January 17, 2013, in which she contends the undisputed facts support her recovering (a) $5, 500 for the value of her Vehicle at the time it disappeared and (b) all out-of-pocket expenses she has incurred, because HMA "took away any opportunity" to have her Vehicle repaired, and (2) a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by HMA on February 6, 2013. HMA's Motion asserts summary judgment should be granted in its favor because, inter alia, Blackston failed to provide expert support for her claim that HMA breached the Vehicle's warranty. The Court held a hearing on February 14, 2013 relating to Blackston's Motion for Summary Judgment and deferred ruling. At the February 14 hearing, HMA asserted that Blackston had not yet provided expert support for her breach-of-warranty claim, well beyond the Court's deadline, and the Court made clear to Blackston that her Complaint would be dismissed if she failed to provide expert support within sixty days. Delays in deposing the party who Blackston asserted would serve as her expert witness resulted in the matter not being submitted to the Court until December 6, 2013. This is the Court's decision. Because Blackston has failed to provide the necessary expert support, HMA's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and Blackston's Motion for Summary Judgment is, therefore, MOOT.

II. Background A.

Underlying Dispute

The case sub judice arises from a dispute between the parties regarding warranty coverage of the Vehicle Blackston purchased from the Castle Hyundai Dealership ("Castle") in July 2000.[1] Blackston's Vehicle came with a warranty[2] that covers the "powertrain, " including the engine, for 10 years/100, 000 miles for the original owner and 5 years/60, 000 miles for all subsequent owners.[3] The engine on Blackston's Vehicle failed on August 5, 2006.[4] Blackston contends she misunderstood the nature of her warranty coverage and did not initially contact HMA regarding her Vehicle's engine failure.[5]

Eventually, Blackston contacted HMA in October 2007 and was allegedly informed that the Vehicle's engine was still covered under warranty.[6] Thereafter, on November 16, 2007, Blackston had the car towed to Castle.[7] A technician at Castle, Joseph Seeney ("Seeney"), diagnosed the engine as "damaged beyond repair."[8] On December 17, 2007, Castle sent a letter to Blackston denying warranty coverage, explaining (1) "the overheating condition and the engine concern [are] due to lack of maintenance of your vehicle, " specifically, Blackston failing to properly maintain the Vehicle's coolant levels, and (2) a Hyundai factory representative concurs with this finding.[9] Blackston made no attempt to retrieve her Vehicle from Castle. Over the ensuring several years, the Vehicle has gone missing, which prevents further inspection or diagnosis.

B. Blackston's Amended Complaint

Blackston filed suit against Castle and HMA in our State's Court of Common Pleas. However, on January 12, 2011, the case was transferred to the Superior Court and Blackston filed an Amended Complaint, which does not include Castle, with more specific allegations against HMA.[10] Through her Amended Complaint, Blackston alleges that HMA (1) "denied warranty coverage without good cause, " and (2) "refused to make adequate repairs."[11]Blackston's seeks (1) reimbursement of expenses she incurred renting a replacement vehicle while her Vehicle was ...


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