A Chattanooga, Tennessee motorcycle dealership recently became the object of federal investigation. According to an official from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an audit uncovered a potentially life-threating business practice: The dealership allegedly sold more 329 motorcycles that were under recall notices.
Tennessee consumers rely on motor vehicle manufacturers to stand by their workmanship. In the event a defect is discovered, the manufacturer typically has a legal obligation to issue a recall notice on the affected vehicles, and to offer or cover the cost of repairs until the vehicles are once again performing as advertised -- and pursuant to the manufacturer's warranty.
Similarly, when a motor vehicle dealer receives a recall notice from a manufacturer, federal laws also place a legal obligation on the dealer to ensure that any vehicles subject to the notice are repaired before being sold. In this case, however, the dealership -- Southern Honda Powersports -- continued to sell affected motorcycles without fixing the defect. This unlawful practice allegedly continued for four years, between 2008 and 2012.
Fortunately, no deaths or injuries from the unrepaired motorcycles have been reported to authorities. For the time being, the dealership is only required to pay a $125,000 penalty to federal authorities. However, that liability may exponentially increase in the event one of the defective motorcycles causes injury before the dealership is able to fix the product defect. An injured motorist may be able to pursue alternative theories, including product liability and negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney will know the best strategy for obtaining a sizable recovery, as well as the evidence needed to prove each claim.
Source: claimsjournal.com, "Tennessee Dealer Pays $125k Penalty Over Unrepaired Recalls," March 18, 2013