BMW Continues to Argue for Dismissal of Sunroof Case

BMW’s attorneys continue to argue that the alleged sunroof defect case should be dismissed, claiming in their latest filing “their [plaintiffs’] warranty-based claims are not covered by the terms of those warranties, and because their fraud-based claims are implausible, conclusory and speculative.” The plaintiffs allege their vehicles suffered water damage after the drainage tubes installed to pull water away from the sunroofs did not properly work.

“The opposition also confirms [Monita] Sharma [a BMW owner] does not have standing to seek injunctive relief. Sharma does not contest BMW North America’s Rule 12(b)(1) factual evidence that she experienced ‘catastrophic’ vehicle damage from a water leak only after she refused maintenance. Given that her injury only occurred after her own deliberate decision to refuse to maintain her car, and even then only experiencing this event once in years of ownership, there is no basis for this court to plausibly infer that she faces the required ‘real and immediate threat of repeated injury’ necessary for injunctive relief to issue,” BMW’s attorneys write.

In a second filing, claiming the BMW owners have lack of standing for a class certification, the automaker’s attorneys write, “Recognizing that their leaky sunroof allegations present innumerable certification imperiling individualized issues, plaintiffs attempt to reframe the Second Amended Complaint (SAC) into focusing solely on design decisions involving the placement of electronics. But even assuming the court accepts this sleight of hand, the SAC still cannot be certified as a class action because it remains apparent on its face that Rule 23 requirements cannot be met.

“First, the class still includes members who have no standing to sue—the vast majority of class members have never experienced any issue with their vehicles, and thus do not have an injury in fact,” BMW’s attorneys claim. “[S]econd, there is no class-wide safety defect, so an essential element of plaintiffs’ claims cannot be met. The proposed class includes ten model years of vehicles which have collectively driven millions of miles through billions of gallons of rain, and yet plaintiffs cannot point to a single accident resulting from the alleged defect. It is simply not ‘plausible’ that the allegations show a defect that poses an ‘unreasonable’ risk of accidents that predominates class-wide.”

Plaintiffs’ Sharma and Eric Anderson successfully argued that their case should include California residents who have “owned or leased any BMW X5 series vehicles, X3 series vehicles and 5 series vehicles.” In an earlier ruling, the judge decided that their allegations are “sufficient” to represent a class action at the pleading stage of their case. However, BMW continues to argue that the class certification should be dismissed as well as the case.

The judge for U.S. District Court of California, San Francisco division, has not issued any new rulings at press time.

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