Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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Lemon Jury Charge

Read below to learn more about this topic.

Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation about what the Law Office of Paul DePetris might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris at paul@newjerseylemon.com.

The information in this article is only for New Jersey Law Division, Civil Part cases and not for other New Jersey court cases, such as those in New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court!!! Do not use this article if you have a New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court case!!! Also, no website is a substitute for competent advice from a New Jersey lawyer!

Warning – this article does not necessarily include each and every New Jersey court rule that may apply to your New Jersey case! The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions of the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not been amended, repealed or superseded by other federal or state law. The New Jersey Statutes, United States Statutes, New Jersey Administrative Code and Federal Code in this database are not annotated. Accordingly, this database may include laws that: (1) never became operable due to unmet conditions; (2) expired; (3) were repealed or amended; (4) were declared void by a court of law; (5) or are otherwise invalid. Further, effective dates of the laws are not necessarily included in the database. Accordingly, you should not rely upon the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website contained in this database for any purpose and before taking any legal measures, you instead should read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney for any changes in the laws. Be certain to cross reference all applicable rules before preparing, filing or serving any papers!!! For example, Special Civil Part Rules often cross reference other rules – rules that apply to Special Civil Part Cases as well as to other types of civil cases not being heard in Special Civil Part.

4.45 MOTOR VEHICLE LEMON LAW (Approved 5/03)
The purpose of the so-called New Jersey “Lemon Law” is to protect buyers or lessees when they buy or lease a motor vehicle and the manufacturer cannot correct defects in the vehicle.
The lemon law does not apply to every defect in an automobile. It is not a guarantee against every defect. It applies to a defect that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a vehicle.
To establish his/her claim under the Lemon Law, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the credible evidence each of the following five elements of the claim. The elements are:
1. The plaintiff purchased/leased a vehicle manufactured by the defendant, [insert the defendant’s name];

2. The vehicle had nonconformity or nonconformities that is/are, a defect or defects that substantially impaired the use, value or safety of the vehicle.

To substantially impair, the defect or condition must impair the use, value or safety in an important, essential or significant way. When I use the term “substantial,” I do not mean a defect, impairment or condition that is minor, trivial or unimportant.
In determining whether a defect or condition substantially impairs the use or value of the vehicle, you can consider whether the defects or conditions have shaken the plaintiff’s confidence in the vehicle. If the defect has shaken the plaintiff’s confidence in the vehicle, this loss of confidence may be the basis for you to find that the defect has impaired the vehicle’s use or value. You must consider this from both a subjective and objective point of view.
From a subjective standpoint, the defects must be examined from the point of view of this particular plaintiff. From an objective standpoint, the defects that allegedly have shaken the plaintiff’s confidence must be consistent with what a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position would have believed under the same or similar circumstances.
For example, in deciding whether a specific defect or condition substantially impairs the use or value of a vehicle, you may consider whether the specific defect or condition complained of, in fact caused the plaintiff to lose confidence in this vehicle. Even if you find that the plaintiff’s confidence in the vehicle was shaken, you must also consider whether or not the specific defect or condition, if any, was such that a reasonable person would have lost confidence in the vehicle.
NOTE TO JUDGE
If the manufacturer raises either or both of the affirmative defenses set forth below, the following language would be appropriate. N.J.S.A. 56:12-40.

The manufacturer, in this case, has raised as a defense to the plaintiff’s claim that the alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle and/or that the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the vehicle by someone other than the manufacturer or its dealer. If you find the manufacturer has proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle and/or that the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the vehicle by someone other than the manufacturer or its dealer, then you must find that there is no nonconformity within the meaning of the “Lemon Law.”

[Charge Continues]
3. The non-conformity occurred during the first 18,000 miles of use, or within two years after the date of original delivery to plaintiff, whichever is earlier.
4. The plaintiff reported the non-conformity to the manufacturer or its dealer during the first 18,000 miles of use, or during the period of two years following the date of original delivery to the plaintiff, whichever is earlier.

5. [insert the defendant’s name], through its authorized dealers, did not repair the non-conformity or non-conformities within a reasonable time.

NOTE TO JUDGE
The following language should be charged in those cases where it is alleged the conditions for the presumption have been met. Note, the two year term and two year period specified shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services were not available to the consumer because of war, invasion or strike, or a fire, flood, or other natural disaster. N.J.S.A. 56:12-33.

It is presumed that a manufacturer or its dealer is unable to repair or correct a non-conformity within a reasonable time if, within the first 18,000 miles of operation, or during the period of 2 years following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever is the earlier date:
(a) substantially the same non-conformity has been subject to repair three or more times by the manufacturer, or its dealer, and the nonconformity continued to exist; or

(b) the motor vehicle was out of service by reason of repair for one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 20 or more calendar days.

(c) since the original delivery of the motor vehicle and nonconformity continues to exist.

This presumption, however, shall only apply against the manufacturer, if the manufacturer has received written notification, by or on behalf of the plaintiff, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of a potential claim pursuant to this law and has had one opportunity to repair or correct the defect or condition within 10 calendar days following receipt of the notification. The notification by the plaintiff shall take place any time after the motor vehicle has had substantially the same nonconformity subject to repair two or more times or has been out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of 20 or more calendar days.
[Charge Continues]
If you find by a preponderance of the evidence that the plaintiff has proven all five elements, then you must find for the plaintiff on the Lemon Law claim.
But, if you find that the plaintiff has failed to establish all five elements, then you will find for the defendant.
NOTE TO JUDGE
In the event that there are factual disputes as to any of the damage elements of a “Lemon Law” claim, the court should provide damage instructions. See, N.J.S.A. 56:12-32 and 56:12-42.
In the event the parties have stipulated the amount of damages, the language set forth below would outline for the jury the ultimate outcome. DiVigenze v. Chrysler Corp., 345 N.J. Super. 314 (App. Div. 2001).

If then a plaintiff reports a nonconformity in a motor vehicle to the manufacturer or its dealer during the first 18,000 miles of operation, or during the period of two years following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to the plaintiff, whichever is earlier, the manufacturer is required to make, arrangements with its dealer to make, within a reasonable period of time, all repairs necessary to correct the nonconformity.
If the manufacturer is unable to correct nonconformity within a reasonable time, the manufacturer shall accept return of the motor vehicle from the plaintiff. The manufacturer shall also provide the plaintiff with a full refund of the purchase/lease price and any other charges, fees and costs, less a reasonable allowance for the use of the motor vehicle, which shall be calculated by the court.

LEMON LAW MODEL JURY VERDICT SHEET
1. Did the plaintiff prove that he/she purchased/leased a vehicle manufactured by the defendant?

YES _____________ VOTE _____________
NO _____________ VOTE _____________

If your answer is “yes”, proceed to question 2.
If your answer is “no”, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.

2. Did the plaintiff prove that the vehicle had nonconformity or nonconformities, which substantially impaired the use, value or safety of the vehicle?

YES _____________ VOTE _____________
NO _____________ VOTE _____________

If your answer is “yes”, proceed to question 3.
If your answer is “no”, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.

3. Did the plaintiff prove the non-conformity occurred during the first 18,000 miles of use or within 2 years after the date of original delivery to plaintiff, whichever is earlier?

YES ____________ VOTE _____________
NO ____________ VOTE _____________

If your answer is “yes”, proceed to question 4.
If your answer is “no”, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.

4. Did the plaintiff prove he/she reported the non-conformity to the manufacturer or its dealer during the first 18,000 miles of use or during the period of 2 years following the date of original delivery to the plaintiff, whichever is earlier?

YES ___________ VOTE ______________
NO ___________ VOTE ______________

If your answer is “yes”, proceed to question 5.
If your answer is “no”, stop your deliberations and return your verdict.

5. Did the plaintiff prove that the manufacturer, through its authorized dealers, did not repair the non-conformity or non-conformities within a reasonable time?

YES ______________ VOTE ______________
NO ______________ VOTE ______________

[Insert specific damage question, if appropriate.]
See N.J.S.A. 56:12-32 and N.J.S.A. 56:12-42.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR NEW JERSEY CASE?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case. Not all New Jersey cases require you to pay expensive legal fees to get legal help.

WHY SHOULD NEW JERSEY PRO SE PLAINTIFFS AND NEW JERSEY PRO SE DEFENDANTS SEEK HELP FROM A NEW JERSEY LAWYER?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants make the mistake of not consulting a New Jersey lawyer before filing New Jersey Court papers only to later learn that the New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants made serious mistakes that could cause them to lose their New Jersey case. Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case.

CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT PERSONNEL FOR LEGAL ADVICE?
New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees. Most New Jersey Court employees are not trained New Jersey attorneys and therefore, they may not know what advice to give you. Working at the New Jersey Court as a non-judge is not the same as practicing law.

CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT FORMS PROVIDED BY THE NEW JERSEY COURT?
The New Jersey Court usually provides certain types of New Jersey Court legal forms to the public and those forms are often very helpful. However, beware relying on New Jersey Court forms provided by the New Jersey Court – the New Jersey Court forms are often deceptively simple, while New Jersey cases often are much more complex than they first appear to be. There is simply no substitute for a competent New Jersey attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey who has experience handling New Jersey cases. New Jersey Court forms don’t talk and New Jersey Court forms and their directions rarely, if ever, cover every possible situation, set of facts or legal issue that may arise in a New Jersey case. Each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges. If you can afford a competent New Jersey attorney, it is best to have the New Jersey attorney prepare your New Jersey Court paperwork for you.

CAN I HANDLE A NEW JERSEY CASE MYSELF?
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants can and do successfully handle New Jersey cases, from filing the first paperwork to the collection of a New Jersey Court judgment. However, many other New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants also make mistakes that lead to the dismissal of their New Jersey cases or that result in the entry of a New Jersey Court money judgment against them. The greater the money at stake, the greater the reason to consider using the services of a competent attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey to handle part or all of the New Jersey case. The following are reasons to use an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case:
• New Jersey Court fees often change
• New Jersey Court rules often change
• New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees
• New Jersey Court forms available on websites may not cover every situation you may face in Court
• each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges
• it is very common for New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants to file inadequate or incorrect New Jersey Court complaints that result in the New Jersey Court complaints or answers to New Jersey Court complaints being rejected by the New Jersey Court or being dismissed by the New Jersey Court after filing and before or after trial because of procedural deficiencies.
• it is not uncommon for judges to get very frustrated by an unrepresented party’s lack of preparation or ignorance of the facts or law of the New Jersey case.
• a Court has the power to punish unprepared New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants, such as by throwing their New Jersey case out of Court or limiting what they can present at the New Jersey Court trial.
• New Jersey has many published cases, laws, regulations, Court rules and rules of evidence that can be very tricky to understand and that can be used to prevent you from doing much of what you want to do at the New Jersey Court trial.
• it is very common for Courts to refuse to allow a party to use or refer to documents or items at the New Jersey Court trial that the person themselves never prepared. Often New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants stumble into New Jersey Court with a video, photograph, bill or affidavit or other form of written statement, thinking they are going to use it as proof that they lost money or that they are not responsible for someone else’s damages, only to have a New Jersey Court judge tell the New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants that it is not going to even consider such items or documents.
• without the proper preparation, items and documents may never be considered by the New Jersey Court. Also, if there are any legal issues to be dealt with at the New Jersey Court trial, you must be prepared to argue them, which may require you to refer to Court rules, evidence rules, laws, regulations or published cases.
• you cannot show up at the New Jersey Court expecting the judge hearing your New Jersey case to explain Court rules, evidence rules, Court procedure or the details of the law that applies to your New Jersey case. The judge hearing your New Jersey case is not permitted to give you legal advice.

It is important to remember that even if you have an attorney, you could lose your New Jersey case. Hiring an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case does not guarantee your success. However, it may provide what is needed to win your New Jersey case or to avoid certain mistakes.

DOES THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HAVE EXPERIENCE HANDLING NEW JERSEY CASES?
Yes. Paul DePetris has performed the following tasks:
• handled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey, from Bergen County New Jersey to Cumberland County New Jersey, including representations of individuals, small businesses and large corporations.
• settled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey.
• reviewed many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• enforced many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• provided New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants with New Jersey Court legal advice and prepared New Jersey Court legal forms
• prepared and filed many New Jersey Court complaints
• tried New Jersey Court jury trials
• mediated many New Jersey cases
• argued New Jersey Court motions
• handled New Jersey Court proof hearings
• handled New Jersey Court post judgment collection proceedings

Mr. DePetris has appeared before the Superior Court of New Jersey in the following counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

IN WHAT NEW JERSEY COUNTIES WILL THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HANDLE NEW JERSEY CASES?
The Law Office of Paul DePetris offers to handle and help individuals and businesses with New Jersey Court Claims cases in North, Central and Southern New Jersey, including cases in the following New Jersey counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HANDLE MY NEW JERSEY CASE FROM BEGINNING TO END?
In many situations, the Law Office of Paul DePetris offers alternatives to handling New Jersey cases for an hourly fee, such as by offering to handle your New Jersey case up to trial for a fixed fee or to help you handle your New Jersey case by yourself. Such flexible methods may allow you to keep the amount legal fees you spend on your New Jersey case to a fixed sum, while providing you the help you need to handle your New Jersey case. For a no obligation phone consultation about what the Firm might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris.
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