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Component Part Makers Not Liable Under State Lemon Law
Description Wisconsin appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit brought by a consumer against the maker of an engine that came installed on a vehicle he purchased. The court held that the state's Lemon Law is clear that liability rests with the final maker of vehicles, not component part makers.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Lemon Law; Component Parts
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Harger bought a 1992 Peterbilt tractor. Caterpillar made the engine, which Peterbilt installed in the tractors it sold. Harger claims he had numerous problems with the tractor, mostly with the engine, which caused the tractor to be a lemon under the Wisconsin Lemon Law. He sued Caterpillar under the Lemon Law, claiming it was liable as a manufacturer. The trial court dismissed the suit. Harger appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "We hold that a manufacturer of component parts who ships the completed part to the automobile manufacturer is not liable under the statute." The Lemon Law is clear that it applies to a manufacturer who produces completed units. The engine alone is not a completed unit; it had to be installed by Peterbilt to become a completed unit. The legislature did not intend for the makers of component parts to be liable under the Lemon Law.
Citation Harger v. Catepillar, Inc., 2000 WL 1585799 (Ct. App., Wisc., 2000)

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