A tire rotation performed by a Chevrolet dealership in Michigan was by definition complete, a panel of judges determined, even though one of the wheels fell off a few blocks away because the mechanic forgot to tighten the lug nuts.
A lawyer who specializes in lemon law cases mocked the ruling last month, in a case that dates to 2013, as "idiotic."
"In the broad sense," Steve Lehto told The Detroit News, "every mechanic now has the right to start a job, not complete it, and say, 'OK, I finished it.' "
A lower court ruled that the dealership, Betten Baker Chevrolet in Muskegon, violated a Michigan law prohibiting customers from being charged for repairs "not performed."
But a three-judge panel from the Michigan Court of Appeals looked up the word "perform" in two dictionaries and concluded that it "generally refers to completion of an action according to an established procedure; the term does not imply that the action has been completed properly, successfully, or without mistake."
The appeals court threw out an award of $110,000 in damages and attorney fees against the dealership. The plaintiff was riding in the passenger seat of the 1991 Cadillac Seville when the left front wheel came off. He alleges that the incident injured his back. His lawyer has filed to have the case reconsidered.