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Zubin v. Toyota Motor Sales (2019)

May 22, 2019

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Plaintiff Constantin Zubin sued Toyota Motor Sales in California state court, arguing that his vehicle’s engine was defective. After a trial in which Toyota presented evidence that the vehicle’s problems had been caused by tampering, the jury returned a verdict in Toyota’s favor. Plaintiff appealed, seeking judgment as a matter of law in his favor and a new trial based on numerous claimed errors, including challenges to the trial court’s discovery orders, evidentiary rulings, and jury instructions, as well as the trial court’s admission of evidence at trial that Plaintiff’s attorney had suppressed evidence obtained by Toyota at a vehicle inspection.

Horvitz & Levy represented Toyota on appeal. The Court of Appeal (Fourth District, Division One) affirmed in full, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict and rejecting each of the errors claimed by plaintiff. In rejecting plaintiff’s claim that Toyota violated the Song-Beverly Act by failing to repair the vehicle within a reasonable number of attempts, the Court of Appeal agreed with Horvitz & Levy’s argument that the evidence at trial supported Toyota’s tampering defense. As a result, the Court of Appeal concluded, the trial court had no basis to find that the number of repair attempts was unreasonable as a matter of law.