Nicholas Malfitano Jul. 12, 2016, 3:55pm


PHILADELPHIA – All proceedings have been stayed in a case involving pre-owned vehicle businesses who allegedly committed fraudulent conduct in selling faulty automobiles, pending the successful completion of binding arbitration.

Nicole Gerson filed a motion for preliminary objections on Dec. 9, seeking dismissal of all defendants from the case with prejudice, claims for violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) and punitive damages dismissed with prejudice, and the case transferred to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas for a more proper venue.

Gerson argued plaintiff Deanna Jones resides in Delaware County (Upper Darby) and the businesses named in the suit are based in Montgomery County. Further, Gerson said an arbitration clause in the vehicle purchase agreement required arbitration for legal matters instead of going to court.

Further, Gerson argued defendant Dean Cafiero cannot be held personally liable for any of the counts in Jones’ suit, the UTPCPL cannot provide financial recovery for personal injuries or loss of wages, and Jones cannot prove “willful, malicious, wanton, reckless or oppressive conduct” needed for punitive damages.

On June 23, Judge John M. Younge ruled the plaintiff and defendants would submit to arbitration, pursuant to the terms of the cited arbitration provision in the lease agreement. Younge added the matter was stayed entirely, pending the completion of arbitration, and all preliminary objections are to be determined upon the completion of arbitration and the lifting of the stay order.

Jones alleged she was harmed by the defendants as to repairs or post-delivery repairs not performed to a 2001 Toyota Sienna mini-van provided to her in June 2013.

Jones said the vehicle was unsafe and in poor condition, with defective brake pads and rotors that would not safely stop the vehicle and a lowly-filled brake fluid reservoir. Jones asserted the defendants did not properly inspect the vehicle before selling it to her.

On Aug. 25, 2013, Jones was involved in a motor vehicle accident, as a result of the same faulty brake system. Jones said she made prior visits to the DriveHere.Com service facility in Conshohocken, but no repairs were made to the vehicle.

Jones sued Cafiero, DriveHere.Com, Inc., Philly Service Center, People’s Commerce Philadelphia, Inc., Car Vision Rental, LLC and DTC Corp., and claimed the defendants’ alleged fraudulent practices violated the UTPCPL, along with negligence, extreme and outrageous conduct subject to punitive damages, strict product liability and fraudulent concealment.

The plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000.

The plaintiff is represented by Timothy R. Hough in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Gerson and Richard L. Gerson, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150803172

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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