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Old 11-26-2008, 09:33 AM   #1
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are there any lawyers on this forum?

Hi,

I am an avid poster of this on other Boxster forums and it seems to me that the # of posts about engine failures is steadily increasing.
I am NOT a lawyer and and for my amateur mind it seems to me that this is a class action law suit waiting to happen.
I am somehow bedazzled that no lawyer has picked it up yet.

Any lawyer on this forum could fill me in, why that could be ?

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Old 11-26-2008, 11:50 AM   #2
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I am not a lawyer, but I know a few members here are.
I don't think a class action lawsuit has ever happened because there is no hard data on the frequency of Boxster engine failure. In the year and a half I've been on this forum, I have seen 5-8 posts of people actually having engine failures, but there are over 200,000 Boxster worldwide.
It is hard to tell the frequency and you need some facts before you get into a lawsuit.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:02 PM   #3
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+1... not only that, but I would guess that most of the engine failures happen outside the warranty period to 2nd/3rd owners. Failures during the warranty period are generally covered.

EVERY engine fails at some time or another. And, engines of the same type will generally fail within a given mileage.

Add the variables of driving style, differing maintenance, oils, fuel and fuel quality, and the fact that the best available statistics (ad hoc though they may be) seem to point to a failure rate of only around 20% (certainly some of which are attributable to the driver/owner), and you'd have a fairly steep uphill climb to prove your case.

Also, Porsche wouldn't just lie down and die; they'd likely mount a pretty stiff and expensive defense. Such an action could well cost you close to a new engine anyway. It's not likely an attorney would take the case on a contingency basis, so you'd be out $$ upfront with no guarantees. Everyone could end up winning (Porsche, Attorneys, etc.) except you.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:15 PM   #4
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I'm a lawyer - but I do criminal law - so I'm not much help. Unless of course in a fit of rage over your blown motor you assault your Porsche dealer and get arrested..

Seriously - I'd like to hear from some of the civil attorneys here on the forum. What I do as a criminal lawyer tends to be more focused on trial work - and not on civil litigation/discovery/motions. Those guys can speak to the strenths/weaknesses from a liability standpoint.

What I can comment on, as a trial lawyer, is that a case like this would be a tough sell to a jury. EVEN IF PORSCHE IS LEGALLY LIABLE (and I don't know that they are) - good luck getting a jury to give a rats a$$ about it.

Jurors don't just listen to a case, listen to the law, and then actually follow the law. They are supposed to - but guess what - they don't. Ever hear of a guy named OJ??? Jurors are not judges and lawyers. They are lay people, not necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed, and they are often times motivated more by emotions and lay person standards, than the actual law the judge reads to them. So even though you may have a case from a "legal" perspective, you still need to make Joe Six Pack care enough to find the other guy liable and pay you money.

A bunch of Porsche owners who are complaining that the engine was poorly designed because it broke when it was OFF warranty will not generate much sympathy.

The average joe - who will be your jurors - don't own Porsches. They think anyone who owns one is rich enough to fix anything that could go wrong with it, and they will figure if you bought a Porsche, you assumed that risk when you bought it.

Imagine Donald Trump trying to sue the manufacturer of his private jet because the engines took a dump after the warranty expired. Would you let "The Donald" collect from the maker of his Gulfstream? That's kind of how the guy in the Accord will view all the "rich" guys whining about their Porsches...

Like I said, I'm not a civil attorney - so I hope I'm wrong - I just think that if/when this case made it to a real courtroom with a real jury - no one would care - and that matters.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:38 PM   #5
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I'm not a lawyer so don't consider this authoritative.

I've owned a few products that have been the subject of class action lawsuits. In the two cases I remember clearly, both were settled out of court.

One involved our Maytag Neptune washer. The initial design of the washer promoted mildew growth and it would smell very bad. Maytag developed a fix that reduced the problem, but did not eliminate it. (They replaced the door gasket and timer. They also developed a "freshen up" procedure in which I basically have to run the washer through a special cycle using bleach and dishwasher detergent every few months.) By the time the lawyers got involved, the washer was repaired to the point I could live with it.

If I recall correctly, the settlement was on a pro rata basis. People with older washers received less and people with newer washers received more. My washer was a few years old at the time, and I would receive a $100 coupon good for buying a new washer in the next two years. I also had to give Maytag another shot at fixing the washer before I could collect.

It looked to me that the people who did the best in the whole deal were the lawyers. I assume that would be the case in any class action against Porsche.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:44 PM   #6
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thanks for your response, yes all your points make a lot of sense.
Well, at least I can feel like I am in the same league with "The Donald"


Quote:
Originally Posted by 23109VC
What I can comment on, as a trial lawyer, is that a case like this would be a tough sell to a jury. EVEN IF PORSCHE IS LEGALLY LIABLE (and I don't know that they are) - good luck getting a jury to give a rats a$$ about it.

Jurors don't just listen to a case, listen to the law, and then actually follow the law. They are supposed to - but guess what - they don't. Ever hear of a guy named OJ??? Jurors are not judges and lawyers. They are lay people, not necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed, and they are often times motivated more by emotions and lay person standards, than the actual law the judge reads to them. So even though you may have a case from a "legal" perspective, you still need to make Joe Six Pack care enough to find the other guy liable and pay you money.

A bunch of Porsche owners who are complaining that the engine was poorly designed because it broke when it was OFF warranty will not generate much sympathy.

The average joe - who will be your jurors - don't own Porsches. They think anyone who owns one is rich enough to fix anything that could go wrong with it, and they will figure if you bought a Porsche, you assumed that risk when you bought it.

Imagine Donald Trump trying to sue the manufacturer of his private jet because the engines took a dump after the warranty expired. Would you let "The Donald" collect from the maker of his Gulfstream? That's kind of how the guy in the Accord will view all the "rich" guys whining about their Porsches...
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:59 PM   #7
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When my 2005 MB SLK 350 started using 1 quart of oil every 700 miles , MB said "oh, that's normal" . When it failed 3 oil consumption tests (after the dealer bungled the first two) they said , " maybe there's a problem". This process took 7 months. When my neighbor the lemon lawyer got involved I got $8500 and a new engine within 3 months. I dumped that car as soon as my 987S was ordered. All manufacturers will deny that any individual owner has a problem vehicle, but any lemon lawyer knows better and can solve your problem. If the car is not too far out of warranty and has spotless maintenance records , mileage under 50K and no black box documenting frequent over-revs , you may have a case.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:14 PM   #8
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:04 AM   #9
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I'm a lawyer here in Canada but we don't have as many class-action law suits as you guys do so I wouldn't be of much help

I am going to sell my Boxster S before my CPO warranty expires next year though...
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:25 AM   #10
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Wow, a 20% failure rate! If that's even close to being accurate, I won't be buying a Boxster. I'm even hesitant assuming a 1-2% failure rate, ( not due to negligence).
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Old 11-28-2008, 02:28 PM   #11
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Quote;

"Imagine Donald Trump trying to sue the manufacturer of his private jet because the engines took a dump after the warranty expired. Would you let "The Donald" collect from the maker of his Gulfstream? That's kind of how the guy in the Accord will view all the "rich" guys whining about their Porsche's..."


That is a terrible correlation to our situation. Again, known manufacturing defects in a product should be addressed by the manufacturer. If they're not, the judicial system should be called upon to protect consumers. I don't remember reading "WARNING: Because of know manufacturing deficiency's, IMS failure in this automobile could happen at any time and will result in a total loss of the engine" on my window sticker.

If it did would any of you bought your cars? BTW, I love my little red devil

P.S. In the event an aircraft engine failure does occur, the engine is torn down to find the failure, determined why the failure occurred and initiation of a fix is instituted. Depending on the severity, a world wide grounding of all aircraft will happen. Gee, Porsche should follow their lead.
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Old 11-28-2008, 03:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen wilson
Wow, a 20% failure rate! If that's even close to being accurate, I won't be buying a Boxster. I'm even hesitant assuming a 1-2% failure rate, ( not due to negligence).
I need to ammend this. The 20% seems the likely number for RMS failure not IMS failure (which is indeed usually more serious).

IMS failure rate is much lower, but still higher than one would expect for a 'normal' reject rate for a manufactured engine.

There can be catastrophic RMS failures which kill the motor, but these are pretty rare. RMS usually develops as a slow drip which increases. The big issue with RMS is the extent and expense of fixing it (with no guarantee the fix will work).

IMS on the other hand almost always takes the engine with it.
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Old 11-28-2008, 04:13 PM   #13
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From what I've heard/read, RMS does not normally cause an engine failure, because you can catch it if you notice the oil leak under the engine and have the seal replaced for around $800. I think 20% is a fair number for the people that have an RMS leak, but I think the % of people that have to replace their engine is much lower.

IMS normally occurs without warning and suddenly but IMS only affects Boxster's built from 2001 and on, because they have the "better" redesigned IMS.
The pre-2001 Boxster's very, very rarely have IMS failures. The only major worry about pre-2001's is a slipped sleeve issue from a 10/98-03/99.

This what I now about what can cause an engine failure, I'll let everyone else try and figure out what the percentages are.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:15 PM   #14
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I'm a court reporter, not a lawyer, but I've taken depositions in the process of trying to get a class certified. Just my lay opinion, but I can't imagine that getting certified as a class.
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:39 PM   #15
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its not easy

I am a commercial litigation lawyer, but not a class action lawyer. Based on my limited knowledge of the 'class action' issues, I think that LoveBunny is most likely correct - the essence of qualifying for a class action is that the nature of the claims and defenses are all so similar, that the court could fairly (to both sides) adjudicate all of the issues in one forum, as the proof to be offered by both sides would be nearly identical in every case. I think that would be tough to establish where the Defendant (Porsche) would want to be able to introduce evidence of how an individual motor had been used / abused / not cared for properly by the various owners, service history, etc.

However, now that you have me thinking about it, I guess it would not be all that different from the medical device class actions, where doctors or device makers would want to show how each patient had different problems, health history, risk factors, etc., so perhaps it would just be a matter of finding a good lawyer / firm to do it ...
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Old 11-30-2008, 06:11 PM   #16
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^^^

although, people are usually sympathetic towards those with medical problems, people who have lost their house in a flood, lived in a stinky FEMA trailer, etc. But how many will feel bad for some "poor guy" whose Porsche blew an engine?

Interesting though about class actions, the silicone breast implant class action went forward and they were taken off the market. After 15 years of testing, they are back, and from what I understand, there is not one single piece of conclusive evidence that silicone actually caused the ailments the women complained of. Sure, a bunch of women with the implants might have had certain issues, but so have a bunch of other women without the implants. This is just my limited knowledge though. I'm definitely no expert.

Sometimes the whole legal system is just a big game it seems like.
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:09 PM   #17
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"Sometimes the whole legal system is just a big game it seems like."

True dat. I'm a consulting engineer and took some continuing ed a few years back on expert witness testimony for engineers. Best continuing ed I've ever taken. The sad thing is that it is a big game and it's not about justice or who's right and who's wrong-it's about who can discredit the other side's experts in front of a jury. It completely changed the way I write my reports. Now everything I write or say is framed under the premise "how would I defend that under cross examination?"
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:26 PM   #18
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Hey, but at least now you can charge those expert witness fees.

I took a deposition of a real estate agent who was acting as an expert in a case. They asked her what she was charging and it was some seriously low amount. After she left both attorneys agreed she'd never acted as an expert before or she would have known to charge more.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmcutter
"Sometimes the whole legal system is just a big game . . . it's not about justice or who's right and who's wrong-it's about who can discredit the other side's experts in front of a jury. "
Sad but true. I remember talking to a friend who was young and naive in law school. She said that a seasoned atttorney advised her that, contrary to its intent, the law has nothing to do with justice. It's a set of rules you play a game by and whoever plays the game better wins. Sometimes the innocent are guilty, and sometimes the guilty go free. If you can't live with that, don't go into the profession. She changed her career goal and is now a law professor.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:23 AM   #20
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"Sad but true. I remember talking to a friend who was young and naive in law school. She said that a seasoned atttorney advised her that, contrary to its intent, the law has nothing to do with justice. It's a set of rules you play a game by and whoever plays the game better wins. Sometimes the innocent are guilty, and sometimes the guilty go free. If you can't live with that, don't go into the profession. She changed her career goal and is now a law professor."

Posted by Ofishbein.

Brings to mind the old expression, 'Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach'

Itís basically a system where one side presents their case (to include discrediting their oppositionís case) that paints a picture thatís often not very close to ďthe truthĒ. (I canít get the image of Jack Nicholsan out of my head as I type that!) And their adversary presents their case (likewise casting doubt on the oppositionís case) that, as well, is typically not all that close to the truth, but in the opposite direction. When ďthe systemĒ works, the judge/jury finds that elusive truth, somewhere in the middle. In close cases, however, presentation can make the whole difference, which is why the side with the most bucks often wins the case. The best attorneys are good theater, and in those close cases, that well-effected drama can swing the balance.

But like the trial attorneys say, thatís the system thatís developed over the centuries, and itís a heck of a lot better that the judicial system that exists in much of the rest of the world. Devising a better one is tougher than one might suppose.

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