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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118061
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I had purchased a new power steering pump from a company on

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I had purchased a new power steering pump from a company on the internet. The new pump failed within one minute of operation, and in doing so caused damage to the engine. The company reimbursed me for the pump, but would not do anything about the damage to the engine. I filled a small claims complaint for the repairs to the engine. However, the company has hired an attorney who has moved the case to Civil Court. My question is what types of laws protect consumers in a case like this, do I need an attorney or can I represent myself, do I need to file additional paper work with the Civil Courts, they are also seeking attorney fees because the "Plaintiff claims sounds in contract" can they do this, or is this a going to be a lost cause?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Whenever people ask if they can represent themselves, we have to ask if they would consider performing an appendectomy on themselves or their close family member, since the difference between going to small claims court and going to civil court is the difference between putting a band aid on a small cut and requiring sutures or an appendectomy.

You have basically two consumer laws at play here. First, you have the breach of warranty law, which is governed by the warranty that came with the pump. Most warranties cover only the bad part and obligate the manufacturer/seller to cover the cost of the part and nothing more.

Second, you have product liability law, which is outside of the warranty law, which is contract law. Under product liability law, you have to argue and prove the pump you received was defective in design or manufacture and as such the manufacturer/seller is strictly liable for ALL damages the defective part caused. Thus, you have to get that part examined to determine if it was a manufacturing or design defect (as opposed to just a part that failed) in order to succeed on this type of claim.

These are the two types of consumer laws designed to protect consumers. If they reimbursed you for the part, then they have satisfied the warranty claim, so you have to prove defect in manufacture or design to get your additional damages paid under product liability law.

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