Nondisclosure of Minor Repairs to Cars Damaged During Transportation
The manufacturer Adopted Policy of Nondisclosure of Minor Repairs to Cars Damaged During Transportation or Manufacture Which Was Consistent With Disclosure Requirements of Many States:
In BMW of North America v. Gore (1996) 517 U.S. 559, 568, the plaintiff had purchased a new BMW automobile for approximately $ 40,000.
After the car's arrival in the United States, but prior to its delivery to the state of purchase, the distributor repainted several parts of the body of the car, but did not disclose this fact to the dealer or the plaintiff, because the cost of the repair was less than three percent of the car's suggested retail price, and the manufacturer had adopted a nationwide policy of nondisclosure of minor repairs to cars damaged in the course of manufacture or transportation. (BMW, supra, 517 U.S. at p. 563.)
The policy was consistent with the disclosure requirements of a significant number of states, where the omission would not have been actionable at all. (See BMW, supra, at pp. 569-573.)
The Court acknowledged that a greater sanction would be warranted in cases where the injury, albeit economic only, is inflicted intentionally through affirmative acts of misconduct. ( BMW, supra, 517 U.S. at p. 576.)
In BMW, the Court explained:
"Indeed, low awards of compensatory damages may properly support a higher ratio than high compensatory awards, if, for example, a particularly egregious act has resulted in only a small amount of economic damages.
A higher ratio may also be justified in cases in which the injury is hard to detect or the monetary value of noneconomic harm might have been difficult to determine.
It is appropriate, therefore, to reiterate our rejection of a categorical approach." (BMW, supra, 517 U.S. at pp. 582-583.)