Ron Blasco, who claimed he experienced various problems with his 2011 Dodge Durango, sued FCA in California state court for fraudulent concealment and violation of the Song-Beverly Act. The trial court granted FCA’s nonsuit on punitive damages concluding that Blasco presented insufficient evidence of knowledge or ratification by an officer, director, or managing agent of FCA and alternatively that it would constitute a double recovery to award punitive damages and a penalty under Song-Beverly. The case proceeded to trial and a jury found for Blasco on both liability theories and awarded compensatory damages and a penalty under the Song-Beverly Act.
Blasco appealed the nonsuit ruling, seeking to reinstate his claim for punitive damages. Horvitz & Levy briefed and argued the appeal on behalf of FCA. The Court of Appeal affirmed on the managing agent issue, concluding that Blasco had failed to demonstrate that a particular managing agent or the corporate hierarchy at FCA had any knowledge that could support a finding that the company acted in disregard of Blasco’s rights.