The plaintiffs in a more than decade-long lawsuit against Volvo have failed in their most recent effort to certify a class. A federal district court issued an order on July 15, 2021, denying their most recent request to certify four state-wide classes. The states are New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and Florida.
The suit alleges six Volvo models have defective sunroof drainage systems that result in water intrusion into the passenger compartment. As the court discussed, in summarizing “[t]he tortured history of this action now span[ning] over a decade,” it had granted certification of six statewide classes in 2013. However, Volvo appealed, and a federal appellate court reversed and remanded the case back to the district court. Plaintiffs then unsuccessfully sought class certification again before the district court. Each time, the court rejected the effort for various defects in the motions without prejudice—giving them another chance to amend and refile their motion for certification.
In rejecting the plaintiffs’ most recent attempt to secure class certification, the court largely found the plaintiffs failed to establish predominance as to their claims. That is, they did not establish that common questions of law or fact predominated over any questions affecting only individual class members. For instance, the court explained, the plaintiffs sought the costs of repairs they paid to repair the alleged defect. But, what each paid was not a uniform surcharge. Instead, the court would need to analyze individual cases to determine whether each amount was caused by the alleged sunroof defect, another aspect of the sunroof drainage system, or something else.
The case is Neale et al. v. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC et al., case number 2:10-cv-04407, in the District Court of New Jersey.
You can read the Court's order below: