Auto Dealers Win as Ohio Court Rejects Class Action Lawsuit

It’s a win for auto dealers as a recent lawsuit alleging violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (OCSPA) failed to achieve class action certification. This case illustrates the numerous challenges faced by these types of lawsuits.

In Konarzewski v. Ganley, Inc., the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals rejected a class action for consumers who purchased vehicles from auto dealers using both a particular retail sales installment contract and a conditional delivery agreement. The plaintiffs alleged the forms were conflicting, misleading, and one-sided. The Court refused to certify the class, finding that not all members of the purported class suffered actual harm, a requirement for a class action lawsuit alleging violations of the OCSPA. The plaintiffs also failed to establish that the documents and procedures in question were uniformly applied to every potential class member.

In an era where class action lawsuits – and the often steep penalties resulting from them – receive plenty of media coverage, this decision should encourage auto dealers. Not every claim alleging OCSPA violations survives, and plaintiffs must jump over several legal hurdles to obtain class action certification. Experienced legal counsel can help with strategic planning to help you navigate complex consumer protection laws and prevent potential claims against your dealership.