WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Ed Napleton Automotive Group issued the following statement:
Hyundai’s two-and-a-half-year campaign filled with baseless accusations against the Ed Napleton Automotive Group has failed. After a two-week trial, a federal jury in West Palm Beach, Florida returned verdicts in favor of Napleton’s West Palm dealership and its managers and employees. The jury’s verdict included a finding that Hyundai committed an unconscionable act or engaged in reprehensible conduct.
In July 2020, Robert Grafton, Hyundai’s Vice President of National Dealer Network and Strategy, sent an email to Jose Muñoz, Hyundai’s President and global Chief Operating Officer warning that: “I have no doubt there is a [Hyundai Motor Company] agenda in play and there is a race to judgment on the Napleton decision before all the investigative facts have been secured . . . We have 1 shot at Napleton and if not managed correctly Napleton survives with all his stores.” Jose Muñoz responded: “They won’t be able to [e]scape.” See ECF No. 113-6.
Hyundai then proceeded to destroy and spoliate hundreds of defective Theta II engines replaced and returned by Napleton’s West Palm dealership as part of a botched Hyundai recall, depriving the defendants of critical evidence that would demonstrate their innocence. The Court twice sanctioned Hyundai for destroying evidence, stating that Hyundai’s “conduct in this case is frankly shocking to the Court.” Hyundai also failed to conduct an industry-standard audit before racing to the courthouse.
Now, after Hyundai raced to judgment and destroyed evidence, a jury has spoken and the Federal Court in West Palm Beach has entered judgment: “Final Judgment is hereby entered in favor of Defendants EFN West Palm Motor Sales, LLC, Gene Khaytin, Ernesto Revuelta, Edward W. Napleton, Geovanny Pelayo, and Jorge Ruiz, and against Plaintiff Hyundai Motor America Corporation. Plaintiff Hyundai Motor America Corporation shall take nothing from Defendants…” The defendants were represented by ArentFox Schiff LLP.
Today, the Napleton Family operates more than 74 franchises in seven states. Taking pride in helping each community they live and work in, the Napleton Family name has become synonymous with excellence and teamwork. What started as a small family-owned business has blossomed into one of the most forward-thinking dealership groups in the country. Four of Ed’s five children have proudly joined him in pursuing the family business and have a hand in the company’s day-to-day operations.
The Ed Napleton Auto Group remains dedicated to its customers in every aspect of the car buying experience and provides unparalleled customer satisfaction.
The case number is 20-82102-Civ-MATTHEWMAN in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Les Stracher, General Counsel
Napleton Dealership Group