How Much are Attorney Fees in a Lemon Law Case? | Nordgren Law: Automotive Litigation and Lemon Law

If you prevail against an auto manufacturer: zero.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, there are two types of sellers under Louisiana law: a good faith seller and a bad faith seller. A good faith seller is one who sells you a defective car or truck but doesn’t know the vehicle has a problem, while a bad faith seller is one who sells you a defective car or truck, is aware of the problem, but fails to tell you about it. Obviously, the conduct of a bad faith seller is more offensive than that of a good faith seller; therefore, the bad faith seller is liable for things a good faith seller is not, including attorney fees.

Whenever a defective vehicle is produced, the manufacturer is automatically held to be in bad faith and is therefore liable for attorney fees. This is because a manufacturer is legally deemed to have knowledge of every defect in a vehicle it produces, whether the company actually knows about the problem or not.

While this legal presumption dates back to the days of Roman law, it found its way to Louisiana in 1911 with the Louisiana Supreme Court’s decision in Doyle v. Fuerst & Kraemer, Ltd. Citing the French jurist Robert Joseph Pothier, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that a manufacturer gives a solemn pledge of proficiency in its trade. When that pledge is broken, imputed bad faith is a legal consequence.

So, if your new car turns out to be a lemon, don’t fret over attorney fees. Ultimately, they’re the manufacturer’s responsibility.