If you buy yourself a Ferrari F430, even a used one for $90,000, you expect it to be mechanically sound, as the seller assures you. Hamid Adeli, from Virginia, purchased his 2007 F430 from a Mercedes-Benz dealer in Arkansas. He did so without having seen the car first, although given he was told the car had been checked and was in excellent order, it’s doubtful he would have noticed the problem.
Almost as soon as he began driving it – on the way home, in fact – Adeli began to smell gas. When he went to his garage in the morning, the smell was worse, so Adeli did the sensible thing and had his beautiful Ferrari towed to a dealership where it was inspected by a Ferrari mechanic. There, the problems began to come to light: a cracked manifold, broken fuel pump, and further issues with the suspension were all clear to see.
Adeli of course returned to the seller and explained the situation; they refused to compensate, claiming he had bought the car as seen, and that it had passed all necessary inspections. In fact, as it happens, when undergoing a prior inspection before being shipped to the dealer, mention had been made of the manifold problem, which Adeli claimed he should have been told about.
The only course of action he could take was to sue the dealership on the grounds of breach of warranty, of fraud, and of deceptive selling practices. The outcome of the case is both curious and controversial.
$5.8million Damages Disputed
The jury awarded Adeli $6,835 in compensatory damages, plus $13,366 in incidental damages. They then added an astonishing $5.8million in punitive damages! We accept the dealership sold Adeli a car that they knew to be defective, but surely this is a considerable amount for the case at hand?
Indeed, the Mercedes-Benz dealer involved has disputed the claim, stating the award is ‘out of touch with precedent and constitutional law’, and is seeking a reduction to a total of $27,340. That case has yet to be heard, and the outcome will surely be an interesting one.