My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: California
I own an auto repair business where I specialize in performance modifications. A customer requested that I swap an engine for them, in return I would get the old engine in the car plus some cash. My responsibilities would include resurfacing & reconditioning the cylinder heads, porting them, installing heads on the engine, cams, oil pump and oil pan, and all engine accessories and put the engine back in the car. The customer would also help with the work. I took on the job and within a few days of completion of the job the engine developed a rod knock. The engine was removed by another shop and the owner took the short block back to the shop that built it but they would not warranty their work because of sealant that I used on the oil pan.
To act in good faith to my customer I offered to rebuild this engine in the exact same form it was when we started. I also gave them the option of rebuilding another vehicle they had in place of the engine that failed. It was of equal or lessor value and they opted to go that route and have me rebuild the engine in the other vehicle.
Once I completed that job, I gave the customer a warranty for 30 days or 1000 miles to cover the break-in period of the engine. The customer brought the vehicle back to my shop once the break in period was complete so I could make adjustments on the vehicle's computer for tuning purposes. They indicated that it was running fine during that time. They sold the vehicle a month or two after the engine was rebuilt. I wrote them up an invoice for the parts used and labor on that vehicle's engine when I did the rebuild, showing them what was comped.
Now they're suing me for both vehicles for "property damage" among other charges. They want the amount that I showed them on an invoice for the vehicle they sold and an outrageous amount for fixing the engine in the first car...much more than the car is even worth.
At the time that I performed the work on this person's car, I was not a member of California BAR, I did however have a business license and ficticious business name. I became a member in March of this year.
I've been looking up affirmative defenses to use in my answer to their summons, would I be able to use the Accord and Satisfaction defense, seeing as our original contract (first car) was superceded by a new contract (second car) and I fulfilled that obligation? With the fact that I was not a member of BAR at the time I did the work, what effect will this have on my case?
Thank you for any help you can provide.