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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The Manon family approached Tejas Toyota to purchase a 2000 Sienna minivan in a specific color and with wood-grained interior and a trailer hitch. Because there was not a 2000 model in the specific color, Tejas offered to sell the Manons a comparable 2001 model in the right color at the same price. The Manons agreed, and paid $33,300 for the minivan. When the minivan arrived, there was no trailer hitch or wood-grained interior. Tejas eventually installed the trailer hitch, but it rattled so much that it had to be removed. During this time, Tejas also informed the Manons that wood-grained interior was not available on any 2001 models of the minivan. Tejas offered to refund the price of the trailer hitch and the interior, and offered to discount $1,000 off of a new, substitute vehicle. The Manons refused the offer. Instead, they traded in the minivan for $26,000 to another dealership and bought a 2001 Toyota Sequoia SUV for more than $43,300. The Manons sued Tejas for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and alleged violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. A jury found Tejas liable and awarded the Manons $8,422, plus interest, plus $5,000 in exemplary damages. The jury concluded that the difference in value between the minivan the Manons wanted and the one they got was $591. The parties cross-appeal. Tejas raises several issues on appeal, and the Manons complain of the amount awarded in actual damages, as well as the trial court’s refusal to award attorneys’ fees. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court starts by addressing the Manons’ argument that under Bus. & Commerce Code ��2.608, 2.711 and 2.712, they should have been awarded “cover” damages of $10,199, equal to the difference between the cost of the SUV and the price of the minivan as purchased, plus incidental and consequential damages. The court reminds the Manons that to be entitled to cover damages, they had to prove that the original good (that is, the minivan) was non-conforming in such a way that its value was substantially impaired. The court agrees with Tejas that the Manons could not prove (1) that the delivered minivan was substantially impaired due to the lack of wood-grain trim; or (2) that the SUV was a reasonable substitute for the minivan. On the other hand, the Manons claim that they proved these issues as a matter of law. The Manons says the delivered minivan was “ugly” without the wood-grained interior. The Manons also said a Tejas employee agreed that a person who did not get the features he wanted would probably not buy a particular vehicles. Neither of these points, however, establish as a matter of law that the minivan was substantially impaired. Tejas made several concessions in an attempt at compromise. Instead of taking Tejas up on any of their offers, the Manons purchases a substantially more expensive vehicle. The Manons, therefore, did not prove as a matter of law that the SUV was a reasonable substitute for the minivan, and they were entitled only to breach-of-contract damages, not cover damages. The court also overrules the Manons’ argument that they should have been awarded attorneys’ fees as a matter of course since they proved their DTPA claim. The court notes, however, that while the Manons requested attorneys’ fees within their summary judgment motion, they did not reiterate that request when the case went to trial. Because of their failure to introduce any evidence on this point, they were not entitled to recover attorneys’ fees. The court reviews the sufficiency of the evidence supporting any damages over the breach-of-contract damages. Through dealer receipts and related documents, the Manons established their entitled to additional damages beyond the breach-of-contract damages. The amount awarded by the jury directly correlates to the difference in value between what the Manons received and what they had to pay (i.e., $7,3000 trade-in difference, plus $531 for the omitted features. “Obviously, the jurors did not randomly envisage these numbers and then arbitrarily craft a damage award to their own liking. Instead, they relied on the receipts and other documentary evidence that the Manons introduced, and ultimately determined that $7,831 was the additional out-of-pocket monetary amount that the Manons would not have had to pay for the subsequent SUV purchase but for the money they lost on the Sienna trade-in. By awarding the $7,831 amount, the jury apparently was attempting to provide recovery for ‘the total loss sustained [by the Manons] as a result of the deceptive trade practice [or misrepresentation].’ . . . Thus, it appears the jury attempted to ‘ensure [the Manons were] made whole.” The court further upholds the award of punitive damages in this case, even though the award was “not a model of specificity.” Reciting the facts of the case, the court also adds that Tejas’ dealership records suggest that Tejas never even placed an order to purchase the wood-grained interior, even though it made repeated assurances to the Manons that the trim was on order. The exemplary damages were supported by the evidence. OPINION:J. Harvey Hudson, J.; Anderson, Hudson and Frost, JJ.

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