In their appeal to overturn a lower court’s approval of a six-state class action over an alleged sunroof defect, Volvo’s attorneys claim, “[T]he certified classes include former owners of class vehicles, many of which now reside in a junkyard. And former owners have no need to repair a vehicle they no longer own and that functioned without incident for as long as they owned it.”
The class action covers Massachusetts, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, California and Maryland. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege there is a defect in the automaker’s sunroofs, which allegedly allows water to flood their vehicles. They contend the “defect” sunroofs are on Volvo’s S40, S60, S80, V50 (model years 2004 to present), XC90 (model years 2003 to present) and V50 (model years 2005 to present).
A lower judge approved a six-state class action and Volvo responded by appealing this decision to the Third Circuit Court.
“Plaintiffs accuse us of hyperbole and legal misstatement. … But it is they, not us, who rely on histrionics and whose position advocates a tectonic shift in settled law,” Volvo’s attorneys claim. “The District Court’s certification order allows classes to be certified any time a few consumers allege that a mass-produced product did not meet their expectations. In so doing, it facilitates a broadside attack on settled warranty law by allowing consumers to seek recovery of damages allegedly caused by a component that functioned precisely, and for as long, as warranted. There is no logical distinction between the individual component at issue in this case and any of the thousands of other components in vehicles (and other products) that might or might not require repair or replacement after the warranty has expired.
“The cost of defending such class actions ultimately is borne by consumers in the form of higher costs. Certifying classes full of uninjured members not only violates settled law and provides a windfall to the uninjured, it constitutes bad economic and social policy,” they claim.
Volvo’s attorneys ask the Circuit Court to reverse the District Court’s class certification order.
The Circuit Court has not issued any new decision at press time.
The initial lawsuit was filed in New Jersey U.S. District Court by Joanne Neale of Needham, Mass., and seven other owners.
To read Volvo’s brief, click here.