Many times, in litigation, as in life, a victory comes with an unwanted loss. Think of the mountain climber who severed his trapped limb to free his body and save his life. This is a drastic illustration of course, but it is the hard reality of many of the choices we are faced with. I will fight tooth and nail for my clients to get every penny they are entitled to under the law. I have even been accused of chasing a penny with a dollar by my staff. However, in some instances, my clients must take a loss to recover what is legally theirs, and to free themselves to move forward with their lives. Take, for example, a real-life experience of my lemon law client that is stuck with a lemon, that Chrysler is legally bound to repurchase from her. A happy victory most would imagine, but when this consumer purchased her Chrysler lemon she traded in a vehicle that she was over $18,000 upside-down on the day she made the deal. She essentially wrapped the balance of her old car into the new car financing. The only way for her to rid herself of this Chrysler lemon and move on with her life, and purchase a new, defect-free car, is for her to stroke a check to cover that negative equity, when Chrysler offers to repurchase the lemon. As her advisor, I have to show her that this small loss is a much better alternative than continuing to pay for and drive an unsafe lemon or take a harder hit on another upside-down trade. Sadly, freedom sometimes comes at a cost.
Note: When purchasing a new car, be careful about how you finance the deal. Using a new car purchase to payoff a negative balance on a trade is not always a good move. I will discuss that in more detail in a future article.