David P. Hiatt


Federal preemption of state "lemon laws" is a relatively recent development in the battle between federal and state law for control of regulation in the consumer protection area. Although preemption is the key issue upon which Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association v. Abrams 2 was decided, the outcome affects the continued viability of manufacturers to establish workable settlement mechanisms to handle the resolution of disputes with consumers. The court, in holding the New York "Lemon Law"3 preempted by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act4 , determined that the federal policy of encouraging manufacturers to voluntarily establish dispute resolution mechanisms outweighed New York's efforts to extend more protection to consumers.' In the court's opinion, the more stringent requirements established by the New York statute would frustrate this federal policy and hence, the statute was preempted.*



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