Tesla settles lemon law case with Wisconsin man for $126,836

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Tesla Motors Inc. agreed to settle the first lemon law suit filed against the company, Wisconsin lawyer Vince Megna said.

According to Megna, who describes himself as the “Lemon Law King,” the company will pay $126,836 -- the amount initially requested by Megna -- to Robert Montgomery, a Tesla owner in Milwaukee who claimed his vehicle spent 66 days over five months in an auto repair shop in Chicago.

The lawsuit filed April 7 in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court alleged Tesla had ignored three requests to buy back the vehicle in November and December. Montgomery purchased the vehicle for $98,000 on March 21, 2013.

Montgomery filed a similar suit against Volvo in February 2013. The company agreed to settle that August.

Montgomery’s case was transferred from the Circuit Court to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean said in an e-mail that the company now considers the case closed.

Megna said he received a number of inquiries into lemon law cases covering Tesla models after he initially filed the Montgomery suit. However, none of the inquiries panned out.

Megna and Tesla exchanged blows via the Internet the week Montgomery’s case was filed. The lawyer posted a YouTube video April 7 in which he talked about some of the car’s defects and drove to the courthouse to file the suit.

On the way, Megna picks up a cardboard cutout of George Clooney. The actor was one of the first Tesla Roadster customers but became a public critic of the company after experiencing technical issues with the vehicle.

The company responded to the suit in a blog published April 9 from the Tesla Motors Team titled, “When Life Gives You Lemons ...”

The post attacked Megna’s lemon law claims, saying the company received only one claim letter from Montgomery in November and had been in close contact with him since. The company said it also worked to address the vehicle’s defects, though it was not able to find the origin of some of the complaints.

“Faced with no diagnosis showing anything wrong with the car, the engineers were moved to consider the possibility that the fuse had been tampered with,” Tesla said in the post, responding to repeated claims that the vehicle’s fuse blew.

In his latest video, Megna said Tesla “did the right thing” by “giving up the dogfight.”

The lawyer then celebrated winning “the Super Bowl of lemon laws” by heading to the Wisconsin Dells, known for its water parks, with the Clooney cutout in tow.

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