Jaguar Land Rover North America (JLRNA) and a collection of plaintiffs alleging windshield defects on 2020-2022 Defender vehicles continue their back-and-forth in New Jersey District Court, according to recent filings. While a final pre-trial conference date has not been set, the parties have outlined their plans for the discovery process.
On February 22, the parties in the case informed the court of their discovery plans in advance of trial, should it be warranted. However, both Jaguar and the plaintiffs “are open to any nonbinding mediation or settlement conference.” Settlement discussions have not yet taken place.
Court documents filed by plaintiffs at the end of June 2022 allege that Land Rover “knew” Defenders “contained one or more defects in the way the vehicles are manufactured and/or made that can cause the windshield to crack, chip and/or fracture.” Plaintiffs also allege Land Rover would have known of the alleged defect through pre-production testing. At the end of December 2022, an amended complaint was filed that included four additional plaintiffs.
Among other arguments, Jaguar says the amended complaint should be dismissed as the limited warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by outside forces and the plaintiffs do not plead a breach of the express warranty. According to the vehicle manufacturer, the limited warranty does not cover design defects.
JLRNA says in court documents that it will seek discovery relating to plaintiffs’ purchase, use, maintenance and repairs to their vehicles. It will also gather information on the “nature and circumstances in which plaintiffs have experienced the alleged defect.”
“To the extent that any claims survive, JLRNA anticipates that discovery, including into plaintiffs’ individual experiences with their vehicles, will demonstrate the lack of any defect or covered issue under the warranty, and that their vehicles were merchantable when sold,” the defendant writes in court documents. “In addition, given the differences among plaintiffs’ and putative class members’ experiences, plaintiffs will be unable to satisfy their burden of demonstrating that class certification is appropriate.”
Plaintiffs tell the court their proposed scope of discovery includes the gathering of information with respect to Land Rover’s knowledge of the alleged defect, the basis of Land Rover’s defenses in the case, Land Rover’s investigation into diagnosing and repairing the alleged defect, and correspondence between the manufacturer and its dealerships regarding the alleged defect, including how to handle consumer complaints.
With those documents having only recently been filed, the parties will have until the end of September 2023 to complete factual discovery. While the parties request a trial by jury, the court has yet to determine a trial date.