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Washburn v. Ford

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

May 23, 2017

BRADLEY WASHBURN, Appellant
v.
STERLING MCCALL FORD, Appellee

         On Appeal from the 61st District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2015-27991

          Panel consists of Justices Christopher, Jamison, and Donovan.

          OPINION

          Martha Hill Jamison Justice.

         In two issues, appellant Bradley Washburn challenges the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee Sterling McCall Ford as to Washburn's Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) claims.[1] We conclude that Sterling McCall conclusively established its entitlement to summary judgment as to these claims and affirm.[2]

         Background

         Washburn purchased a used 2012 Dodge Ram truck from Sterling McCall. The salesperson told Washburn that a "lift kit" and larger tires had been installed on the truck.

         Washburn received a "Buyers Guide, " which indicates that "a manufacturer's warranty comes with the vehicle" and the truck was still under the "manufacturer's warranty, " and instructs the buyer to "[c]onsult the manufacturer's warranty booklet for details as to warranty coverage."[3]

         The manufacturer's warranty booklet includes the following limitations, in relevant part:

[Y]our warranties don't cover any part that was not on your truck when it left the manufacturing plant or is not certified for use on your truck. Nor do they cover the costs of any repairs or adjustments that might be caused or needed because of the installation or use of non-Chrysler parts, components, equipment, materials, or additives.
Performance or racing parts are considered to be non-Chrysler parts. Repairs or adjustments caused by their use are not covered under your warranties.

         Examples of the types of alterations not covered are:

• installing accessories-except for genuine Chrysler/MOPAR accessories installed by an authorized Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Ram dealer . . .
• changing the vehicle's configuration or dimensions . . . .[4]

         Approximately a month after Washburn purchased it, the truck began experiencing mechanical difficulties. Washburn took it to a Dodge dealership for repairs. He was informed by that dealership and by Chrysler's customer service that the needed repairs were not covered by the warranty because "there was a restriction on the truck."

         Washburn then contacted the dealership that sold the truck to the original owner and was told that after the lift kit was installed, the original owner brought the truck in for repairs of a "drive shaft issue." Chrysler also refused to cover those drive shaft repairs under the warranty.

         Washburn ultimately made the repairs at his own expense and filed the underlying lawsuit against Sterling McCall, bringing causes of action under the DTPA and for breach of contract and negligence. The trial court ...


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