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Ohio Passes Its Lemon Law

The state of Ohio passed its Lemon Law, just as all of the other 49 states (and the District of Columbia) have by now done, and that law became effective on October 22, 1987. The Lemon Law legislation, like all consumer protection statutes, is remedial in nature and should be liberally construed in favor of the consumer to effectuate the purpose. This means that if a court is interpreting the statute and the meaning of it is unclear, the court should interpret the statute in a way that secures the intent of the statute. The intent of the statute clearly is to make the consumer whole, and to restore the purchaser to a position he or she occupied before acquiring the lemon.

Whenever you analyze a law (often called a statute) in the state of Ohio, usually, the first section of that statute contains definitions. Definitions are important because when lawyers, legislators and judges use words, they often use "terms of art." "Terms of art" are shorthand phrases used to denote larger ideas.
Here's an example. If this kit were about Ohio divorce law, you would find out that before you can file for divorce in the state of Ohio, you must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. "Residence" however is a term of art, meaning the place you are in which you intend to remain. If you grew up in Columbus, and then you joined the Ohio Air National Guard and went to Air Force Basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, you would not be a resident of the state of Texas while you were in basic training. You would still be an Ohio resident, since you don't intend to stay in Texas. You intend at all times to return to Ohio. When you are in Ohio, you are there with an intent to remain.
Reading statutory definitions to divine the terms of art as they are used in court can be boring, so I'll try to make the process as interesting as possible. But words mean things in the law, and we can't just gloss over the definitions simply because they aren't all that interesting. Often, a definition decides the case.


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