Bergen County Verdict in a car sales case
$174,000 verdict for purchaser who did not get the title
11-4-9287 Mehrnia v. Emporio Motor Group LLC, Chanc. Div.-Bergen Cnty. (Toskos, J.S.C.) (24 pp.) This case evolved from a dispute between several parties over their rights to the ownership of a used 2010 Ferrari. The car was sold several times. Plaintiff Mehrdad Mehrnia claimed that he purchased the vehicle for a price of $201,000. Defendant Hitfigure LLC claimed ownership of the 2010 Ferrari through a subsequent purchase for a price of $155,000. The dispute arose from the relationship between defendants Dream Cars National LLC and Gotham Dream Cars LLC and defendant Manhattan Leasing Enterprises Ltd. Gotham and Manhattan also claimed an ownership interest in the vehicle. At a time when Gotham was experiencing financial difficulties, Manhattan restructured their leasing arrangement, which led to Manhattan obtaining possession of the title to the 2010 Ferrari. Mehrnia purchased the car from Emporio Motor Group LLC, which had obtained the Ferrari from Manhattan. The Ferrari was later sold to Hitfigure. Mehrnia filed this litigation seeking a declaratory judgment that he was the owner of the Ferrari. He also asserted a consumer fraud and conversion claim against Gotham and Manhattan. Finally, Mehrnia included a civil conspiracy claim as to Emporio, Gotham and Manhattan, alleging that they conspired to deprive Mehrnia of his property.
In their counterclaim, Gotham and Manhattan also sought a declaratory judgment with respect to ownership of the 2010 Ferrari along with claims for replevin, conversion, unjust enrichment and tortious interference. Hitfigure filed cross-claims against Gotham and Manhattan, alleging breach of contract, fraud, conversion and unjust enrichment. Should it not succeed with the damage claims against Gotham and Manhattan, Hitfigure sought possession of the 2010 Ferrari from Mehrnia, alleging replevin and that the court should enter a declaratory judgment recognizing its ownership. The court addressed these claims in two parts. First, it considered which party was entitled to possession and ownership of the 2010 Ferrari. Next, the court examined the damage claims to determine if any party was entitled to monetary damages and, if so, from whom. A declaratory judgment was entered in favor of plaintiff Mehrnia, awarding ownership, title and possession to the Ferrari. All of plaintiff’s damage claims were dismissed. All claims of defendants against plaintiff were likewise dismissed. Hitfigure was awarded compensatory damages on its cross-claims against Manhattan in the amount of $174,000. All other claims of Hitfigure, Gotham and Manhattan were dismissed.