ORANGE PARK, Fla. - A retired Jacksonville couple suing an Orange Park RV dealership is trying to keep the lawsuit in Florida, saying they cannot afford to keep fighting if the legal battle moves out of state.
The lawsuit, filed by Leon and Patsy Carrigg in federal court in Jacksonville in May, centers on a used 2013 RV they purchased from General RV in November 2016. It seeks at least $75,000.
The couple said they planned to spend their twilight years traveling in the RV. Instead, they said, the vehicle now sits in their back yard.
DOCUMENTS: View the couple's lawsuit against General RV
The suit said the Carriggs only put 600 miles on the RV before problems cropped up, including a leaking windshield, dead batteries, a hydraulic jack system that doesn't work and a defective awning.
But, according to the company, the couple bought the vehicle as is -- without a warranty. They also agreed to settle any legal dispute in Michigan, where the company is headquartered.
Attorney Michael Dolenga, who represents General RV, said the company tried to work with the Carriggs to reach a solution outside of court.
“We worked hard to address their alleged issues, even going so far as to attempt to find a way to get them into a different RV or fix the things they are allegedly not satisfied with,” he said.
He said the couple would not work with the dealer and chose instead to file a lawsuit.
"As a result, we are following the terms of the paperwork they signed with us, which fully complies with Florida and Michigan law," said Dolenga.
But that's not how the couple sees things. They said they tried repeatedly to have the dealer fix the issues detailed in their lawsuit.
"They blame it on us that we quit, but they told us that they couldn't fix it," said Patsy Carrigg. "That's why there was no need to continue when someone tells you they can't fix it, not once but twice."
The couple estimated they have racked up $50,000 in legal and towing bills since buying the vehicle. Now, they said, they may not be able to continue fighting if the lawsuit moves out of state.
"Nobody wants to take a case like this because there's no insurance involved, so you have to pay up front for a lawyer," said Carrigg. "And there's more added expense if you move out of the state."
She said when the couple signed paperwork to purchase the RV, they had no idea there was language in the fine print requiring them to file any potential lawsuits in Michigan.
"Nobody don't even realize that it's there," she said. "Because I've had other customers of theirs that has called me, and I said, 'Well you know that's in your contract.' They said no."
Court records show the company has a deadline Friday to file any new documents backing up its motion to move the civil case to Michigan.
Below is a copy of General RV's complete statement:
Mr. and Mrs. Carrigg purchased a used, 2013 RV, “AS IS” from General RV in November of 2016. We sold the RV with paperwork indicating the RV was used, AS IS, and sold without any warranties. In addition, if any disputes arose between General RV and Mr. and Mrs. Carrigg, which could not be resolved without litigation, any lawsuit had to be filed in Michigan. These customers were fully informed of that, as they signed 3 documents stating it. One of them is their Purchase Agreement, which states, in red ink and all Capital Letters directly above their signature, that it has choice of law and forum selection clauses indicating that Michigan law applies to all potential disputes and that all claims must be filed in Michigan.
Despite this, when these customers complained to representatives of General RV we worked hard to address their alleged issues, even going so far as to attempt to find a way to get them into a different RV or fix the things they are allegedly not satisfied with. They have not worked cooperatively with us and instead have pursued litigation against us. As a result, we are following the terms of the paperwork they signed with us, which fully complies with Florida and Michigan law.
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