Appeals Court Overturns Class Action Status of Sunroof Case

gavel 2The Third Circuit Court of Appeals is vacating a previous class certification and wants more details in a 2010 case by Volvo owners who allege their sunroofs harbor a defect, allowing water to flood the vehicles. “[W]e will vacate and remand the District Court’s class certification decision to allow the District Court to define the class membership, claims, and defenses, and so that it may rigorously analyze predominance in the first instance,” according to court documents.

Unhappy with the U.S. District Court in New Jersey’s decision to approve a six-state class action lawsuit, Volvo appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court vacated the class action status of the case and remanded it back to the District Court. The Appeals Court explained that the District Court must be more specific in the claims and damages for each of the six states involved.

“In this case, certification issues are genuinely in doubt,” according to court documents. “[H]ere plaintiffs’ proposed classes and claims in the Second Amended Complaint were different from those in the motion for class certification. Plaintiffs also conceded at oral argument that they intended for the Class Vehicles to include only those which actually have a sunroof. This lack of clarity, combined with the District Court’s failure to address in detail or list the precise claims subject to class treatment, means that we would be required to engage in some level of guesswork were we to try to piece together the class claims. We will not attempt to do so.”

The six states the District Court judge had granted as subclasses for class action are Massachusetts, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, California and Maryland.

The plaintiffs contend the alleged “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).

The suit was filed in 2010 in U.S. District Court by Joanne Neale of Needham, Mass., and seven other owners.

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3 Responses to Appeals Court Overturns Class Action Status of Sunroof Case

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