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Lask Settles Richard Catena Auto Case of Fake Car Warranty Sales

Susan Chana Lask with Gregg Frankel in Consumer Fraud Class Action

 Susan Chana Lask and client Gregg Frankel's class action against NJ's Largest Auto Wholesaler 

On May 5, 2017, in record time, Susan Chana Lask amicably settled a Federal complaint  against New Jersey’s largest car dealer, Richard Catena, alleging he stood to lose a fortune after customers learned they were duped.   Catena sells to consumers not only in New Jersey but nationwide and overseas.

Lask's complaint filed in March, 2017 in New Jersey's Federal District Court sounded the alarm that used-car tycoon Richard Catena and employees at Richard Catena Auto Wholesalers Inc. were pushing and selling fake warranties to unsuspecting car buyers for years, according to the federal class-action lawsuit.

The plaintiffs claimed they were conned into buying the fraudulent after-market warranties for the luxury vehicles sold by Catena and his dealers from 2013 to date.  

The lawsuit alleges that Catena sold warranties that did not exist, nor backed by state insurance funding requirements, and that Catena turned away customers if they attempted to execute the provisions of their warranties once their vehicles had mechanical problems.

Discovery revealed that only about 35 other warranties were sold of the type alleged in this case, which was not enough to create a class.  Those otehr 35 persons would have to file their own cases or the Attorney General would pursue the matter.

"I settled this action amicably in record time for the individual plaintiffs and gave the case to the Attorney General to pursue it for all other consumers, which getting the state's attention was always the purpose of the case filing", Lask says.  

There may be other warranties that the Attorney General may find and pursue in addition to the 35 discovered by Lask.

In 2015, plaintiff Gregg Frankel purchased a 2011 Mercedes-Benz from Catena’s Teterboro dealership for $73,000.  Frankel says Catena insisted he purchase Applied Protection Systems, LLC’s “Platinum Plan” for $3,000 in order to complete the sale.

The service contract states that Frankel’s Mercedes-Benz would be covered by Applied for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever came first.

In October 2016, Frankel took his car to a Mercedes-Benz dealership when it started experiencing water pump issues and the technicians there discovered that Applied Protection Systems, LLC did not exist, and neither did its phone number, e-mail address or website.

Co-Plaintiff William Bruner also purchased Catena's alleged fake warranty for thousands of dollars at the urging of the used car salesman.

The lawsuit alleged that Catena knew the warranties were fraudulent but nevertheless sold them vigorously for its own personal gain, and that Catena never applied customers' service contract funds to any warranty but rather pocketed the money.

 

LASK IS KHOU-TV'S CIVIL RIGHTS EXPERT ON UNITED AIRLINES CASE

Fliers could face complications following viral United video

 Susan Chana Lask as Civil Rights Expert for KHOU-11 on United Airlines Lawsuit

Susan Chana Lask as KHOU-11's Civil Rights Legal Expert

HOUSTON - Fliers traveling through Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday asked more questions surrounding the viral videos captured on board a United Airlines plane Sunday.

"I mean, don't they have private jets if they really want to get to work?” said United passenger Claudia Squires. “Why make other people suffer for that?"
KHOU 11 News was the first to report Monday the Kentucky-bound United Airlines flight where passenger David Dao was forcibly removed was not overbooked.

"This is very bad,” said civil rights attorney Susan Chana Lask. “Not only did United Airlines violate or breach a contract with this passenger -- it was bad enough they did that -- but they called airport security to forcibly remove him. Once airport security laid their hands on him the way they did, I see it as criminal."

Federal rules and the United passenger agreement guidelines regulate what happens if passengers are bumped from overbooked flights in “Rule 25” of the airline’s passenger agreement. However, the it does not address situations such as this one.

"They've been saying it's Rule 25, but that's completely untrue,” Lask said.

Attorneys representing Dao filed an emergency motion Wednesday to protect potential evidence. Lask said Dao has a strong case against both United as well as Chicago’s airport police.

"Millions, easily. It was very punitive what United Airlines did, and even after the fact when United Airlines CEO tried to disclaim any responsibility in using the wrong rule to deceive the public and make this man look terrible,” Lask said. “I think punitively, millions."

"Everybody has to follow the rules -- that includes employees as well,” Squires said.

© 2017 KHOU-TV