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HORNBERGER v. GMC

June 13, 1996

FREDERICK HORNBERGER and MAUREEN HORNBERGER (h/w), Plaintiffs,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KELLY

 R.F. KELLY, J.

 JUNE 13, 1996

 Before this Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiffs, Frederick and Maureen Hornberger ("the Hornbergers" or "Plaintiffs"), filed this action against Defendant, General Motors Corporation ("GM" or "Defendant"), alleging claims under the Magnuson-Moss Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act, the Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code, and Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices Act, for losses due to alleged nonconformities and defects in a new 1993 Saturn SLI which Plaintiffs leased from a GM dealership. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

 STANDARD

 Pursuant to Rule 56(c), summary judgment is proper "if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). The moving party has the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). The non-moving party cannot rest on the pleadings, but rather that party must go beyond the pleadings and present "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e); Id. at 324. If the court, in viewing all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party, determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, then summary judgment is proper. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Wisniewski v. Johns-Manville Corp., 812 F.2d 81, 83 (3d Cir. 1987).

 BACKGROUND

 On September 9, 1992, Plaintiffs leased a new 1993 Saturn SLI from Saturn of Trevose ("Trevose"), a GM dealership. An express limited warranty was given to the Hornbergers. This limited warranty was provided by GM for three years or 36,000 miles. In addition, the warranty states the following:

 
Saturn does not authorize any person to create for it any other obligation or liability in connection with these cars. Any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose applicable to this car is limited in duration to the duration of this written warranty. Performance of repairs and needed adjustments is the exclusive remedy under this written warranty or any implied warranty. Saturn shall not be liable for incidental or consequential damages (such as, but not limited to, lost wages or vehicle rental expenses) resulting from breach of this written warranty or any implied warranty.

 (Defendant's Summary Judgment Motion, Ex. C at 12.)

 Plaintiffs presented their car on two occasions for warranty repairs during the term of the warranty. The first repair was at 6,491 miles. At such time, Plaintiffs asked that the fuel pressure regulator and/or gaskets be replaced. The second repair was performed at 7,889 miles and two recalls, Numbers 93-C04 and 93-C05, were performed. The recalls required the battery cable to be inspected and the generator wiring cable to be replaced.

 On June 27, 1995, the car was towed to Saturn of Trevose, when the vehicle's odometer registered more than 40,000 miles. At that time, the car was towed in for transmission service because the converter housing had a hole in it at the output shaft and the output shaft bearing case was cracked, making the car inoperable. Prior to towing the car to Trevose for repair of the transmission, Plaintiffs sought repair from numerous independent repair shops based on Plaintiffs' belief that Saturn's express limited warranty had expired. The estimated repair cost of said transmission is approximately $ 3,200.00.

 On November 21, 1995, Plaintiffs filed the Complaint in this case, alleging claims under the Magnuson-Moss Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq., The Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code, 13 Pa.C.S.A. § 1101 et seq., and The Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 P.S. §§ 201-1 et seq. On April 16, 1996, GM filed its Motion for Summary Judgment. Oral argument on Defendant's motion took place on May 30, 1996.

 DISCUSSION

 In the instant action, Defendant argues that the Hornbergers' car was not brought to it for the repair of the transmission until after the 3 year/36,000 mile express warranty period had expired. In response, Plaintiffs do not dispute the expiration of the express warranty, but now proceed on a theory of an implied warranty of merchantability. *fn1" Here, a threshold issue arises as to whether the Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code warranty provisions apply to lease transactions.

 
The [Pennsylvania] legislature's enactment of Article 2A, which applies specifically to leases, has codified an area of the law that has heretofore not been fully addressed by the appellate courts of this Commonwealth. However, the provisions of Article 2A do not apply to the instant case as Article 2A did not become effective until July 9, 1993. See 13 Pa.C.S. § 2A102. Accordingly, . . . the lease transaction in question [must be examined] to determine whether it is ...

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