The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the arbitration award in this Lemon Law case was not supported by adequate evidence. Respondent Leonidou leased a BMW and brought an action under the Lemon Law (General Obligations Law 198-a) alleging noises impaired the value of the vehicle. The arbitrator awarded Leonidou nearly $63,000:
The Lemon Law applies to defects in car parts and workmanship that are expressly warrantied from defect by the manufacturer/dealer (see General Business Law § 198-a[b]). Under the statute, when a manufacturer is unable to correct a defect or condition that “substantially impairs” the value of the motor vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer, at the option of the consumer, is required either to (1) replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle or (2) accept return of the vehicle and refund the full purchase price to the consumer (General Business Law § 198-a[c]). It is undisputed that Leonidou was offered a replacement vehicle by BMW and the dealership in accordance with General Business Law § 198-a (c)(1). Leonidou exercised his option not to replace his vehicle.
Leonidou failed to present any evidence to show a defect in materials or workmanship that was covered by an express warranty … . Leonidou acknowledged that the noise issues did not affect the car’s safety or operation. He admitted that other drivers he knew, driving the same vehicle type, experienced similar noises, and BMW’s witnesses, who testified to their technical experience in repairing such vehicles, attested that the noises at issue were inherent in the SUV design due to its, inter alia, stiffer suspension for off-road conditions. There was no basis in this record to find that the noises otherwise substantially impaired the value of the vehicle to Leonidou … . Matter of BMW of N. Am., LLC v Leonidou, 2020 NY Slip Op 02858, First Dept 5-14-20