Must Plaintiff Have Automotive Expert Witness in Lemon Law Cases?

Maryland’s highest court is deciding whether a consumer suing a car company under the federal lemon law needs an expert witness to testify about a defect in the car. Mary Crickenberger, represented by Kimmel & Silverman, says she had numerous electrical problems with her Hyundai in the three years after she bought it, with the car sputtering to a stop one day. Hyundai filed a motion to exclude Kimmel & Silverman’s automotive expert witness. Kimmel & Silverman withdrew the expert but did not substitute another. The Maryland Daily Record also reports:

The defendant, Hyundai Motor America, wants the court to hold that not only did Kimmel & Silverman need an expert in plaintiff Mary S. Crickenberger’s case, but that the firm must show a defect in Crickenberger’s case and all of the firm’s other cases…

A group called the Product Liability Advisory Council Inc., which represents manufacturers, filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, arguing that permitting Kimmel & Silverman to pursue lemon-law cases without requiring expert testimony will drastically alter the landscape of product-liability law.