Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Supreme Court Decision Supporting Consumers
Attorney General Jack Conway today commended a recent decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court upholding a verdict against a used car dealer who violated the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act in its dealings with a young couple.
The couple traveled to the dealership, Sonny Bishop Cars in Louisville, to view a vehicle advertised at $6,000, but were instead sold a vehicle costing $14,000. After the dealership was unable to sell the financing contract on the terms it promised the couple, it demanded more money from them. The couple declined and attempted to return the car, but the dealer refused to return the couple’s trade-in and concealed the fact that the trade-in had been sold before the deal was finalized.
Louisville attorney Ellen G. Friedman represented the couple at trial and the jury awarded $8,600 in compensatory damages for the value of the trade-in, loss of use of the car and inconvenience to the parties, as well as $50,000 in punitive damages. The trial court also awarded the couple attorney’s fees in the amount of $22,662.50. The dealership appealed the verdict.
Attorneys for Sonny Bishop Cars argued on appeal that the Consumer Protection Act did not apply to the case because the purchase was not actually completed. In rejecting that argument, the Supreme Court noted the “broad protection the [Act] provides to consumers.”
Attorney General Conway said, “I applaud this decision for its recognition that Kentucky consumers are entitled to seek compensation for unscrupulous business practices and that punitive damages are appropriate to deter businesses that might be tempted to take unfair advantage of our citizens”.
Conway’s Office of Consumer Protection filed a brief with the court. Attorney Friedman noted, “The Attorney General’s participation in the case was invaluable and demonstrates a strong commitment to the protection of consumers across the Commonwealth.”
The court upheld the jury verdict and awarded to the couple additional monetary damages for inconvenience that had been vacated by the Court of Appeals.