Responding to two motions from BMW, a judge for the U.S. Northern District Court of California ruled that plaintiffs Monita Sharma and Eric Anderson have made allegations “sufficient” to represent a class action at the pleading stage of their case against the automaker over an alleged sunroof defect. However, the judge directed the plaintiffs to show cause as to why their motion for injunctive relief should not be dismissed for lack of standing.
Sharma and Anderson, BMW owners and California residents, allege their vehicles suffered water damage after the drainage tubes installed to pull water away from the sunroofs did not properly work. They claim the class should include California residents who have “owned or leased any BMW X5 series vehicles, X3 series vehicles and 5 series vehicles.”
“Where a class action complaint encompasses both a product the plaintiff purchased and a product he did not, the plaintiff sufficiently has standing to proceed with claims on behalf of class members who purchased the latter if ‘there is sufficient similarity between the products purchased and not purchased.’ … In that regard, plaintiffs allege that ‘all’ of the makes and models identified by plaintiffs as the class vehicles have the same ‘design defect.’ … The court finds such allegations sufficient to allege requisite similarity, and, consequently, suffice at the pleading stage to establish plaintiffs’ standing to assert claims on behalf of owners of vehicles other than those purchased by plaintiffs.
“Although BMW contends plaintiffs will be unable to establish the truth of their allegations, in that, according to BMW, ‘plaintiffs own vehicles have unique structural designs and unique features, BMW’s argument is premature at this time and must await a later stage of the proceedings,” Judge Maxine Chesney writes. “In sum, the court is not persuaded by the arguments made by BMW with respect to standing.”
Addressing plaintiffs request for injunctive relief, the judge writes, “’To seek injunctive relief, a plaintiff must show that he is under threat of suffering injury in fact that is concrete and particularized; the threat must be actual and imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; it must be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and it must be likely that a favorable judicial will prevent or redress the injury. … Here, plaintiffs fail to allege facts to meet the applicable standard. Specifically, plaintiffs fail to allege any facts to support a finding that the requested injunctive relief, if ordered by the court, would redress an ‘actual and imminent’ threat plaintiffs themselves face from BMW. … Indeed, plaintiffs’ allege their vehicles already have been repaired.
“Accordingly, plaintiffs are hereby directed to show cause, in writing and no later than February 7, 2014, why their claim for injunctive relief should not be dismissed for lack of standing,” according to court documents.
Furthermore, if the plaintiffs can add additional facts to their case in support of seeking injunctive relief, the judge asked them to file a second amended complaint by February 7 as well.