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10/28/94 JAMES DANLEY AND JAMES JACKSON v. ERIN

October 28, 1994

JAMES DANLEY AND JAMES JACKSON
v.
ERIN MURPHY



Appeal from Lauderdale Circuit Court. (CV-93-22). Donald H. Patterson, TRIAL JUDGE.

Rehearing Overruled December 2, 1994, . Certiorari Denied March 3, 1995. Released for Publication July 5, 1995.

Holmes

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Holmes

HOLMES, Retired Appellate Judge

Erin Murphy (buyer) filed a complaint, alleging that James Danley and James Jackson (sellers) made fraudulent representations which induced her to purchase a defective automobile and that she was damaged thereby.

The sellers filed an answer, denying all material allegations. Thereafter, the sellers filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied.

The case was tried before a jury. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the buyer and awarded $10,400 in compensatory damages and $3,000 in punitive damages. The trial court entered a judgment based upon the jury's verdict.

The sellers filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a motion for a new trial. Both of these post-judgment motions were denied by the trial court.

The sellers appeal. This case is before this court pursuant to Ala. Code 1975, § 12-2-7(6).

At the outset we would note that it is well settled that a presumption of correctness attaches to a jury verdict and that a judgment based upon a jury verdict will be reversed only if it appears to be plainly and palpably wrong. Brannon v. Webster, 562 So. 2d 1337 (Ala. Civ. App. 1990). Such a presumption of correctness is strengthened by the denial of a motion for a new trial. Brannon, 562 So. 2d 1337.

Viewing the record with the attendant presumptions accorded the jury's verdict in this case, we find the following pertinent facts: In July 1992 the buyer purchased a 1988 convertible from the sellers for a total price of $7,678.13, including tax. The buyer purchased this automobile because she was making preparations to go away to school at the University of South Alabama and because she needed a safe, reliable automobile for transportation. The buyer's father, Walter Murphy, negotiated the purchase of this automobile on his daughter's behalf. Murphy testified that he advised the sellers as to the reason that his daughter desired to purchase an automobile and that he was assured by the sellers that the automobile was safe and reliable. The buyer testified that her father related to her the information that the sellers gave to him regarding the automobile and that, based upon this information, she decided to buy the automobile.

In August 1992, while on a trip to the Orlando, Florida, area, the automobile's engine "blew up" and the engine had to be replaced. During the return trip to Alabama, there were problems with the automobile's transmission and transaxle.

There was testimony that it has been necessary to have the automobile towed on seven or eight occasions. Also, the buyer testified that it has been necessary to have repair work performed on the automobile on approximately ten occasions. The testimony revealed that, at the time of trial, the amount spent on repair bills for the automobile totalled approximately $3,000.

In addition to incurring bills for towing and for making the necessary repairs on the automobile, the buyer has been inconvenienced and deprived of the use of her automobile. In fact, the buyer testified that her parents will not allow her to take the automobile to school with her because it continues to have numerous defects and requires several thousand dollars worth of repairs to make it safe and reliable. It is the ...


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