United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
TAMARA LOHR and RAVIKIRAN SINDOGI, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC., and NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
NISSAN'S MOTION TO DISMISS
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Nissan North
America, Inc.'s (“Nissan”) Motion to Dismiss.
Dkt. #22. The Court has determined that oral argument is
unnecessary. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS
Nissan's motion in part and DENIES it in part.
Tamara Lohr and Ravikiran Sindogi allege that panoramic
sunroofs available on several 2008 to 2016 car models
manufactured by Defendant Nissan and Defendant Nissan Motor
Company, Ltd. (collectively “Defendants”) are
defectively designed and can spontaneously shatter. Dkt. #12
¶¶ 3, 11-27. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants are
aware of the panoramic sunroofs' defective design and,
instead of warning consumers, choose to conceal the defect.
Id. ¶¶ 27-32, 39-43, 51, 58-60, 63, 70.
Plaintiffs also claim that Defendants benefit from the
concealment of the panoramic sunroof design defect because it
enables them to benefit from lease and sale of vehicles to
“unwitting consumers.” See id.
¶¶ 42, 52. Plaintiffs also allege that the
concealment of this design defect allows Defendants to
systematically deny coverage when a customer's defective
panoramic sunroof shatters. See id. ¶¶
44-47. Both Ms. Lohr and Mr. Sindogi claim the panoramic
sunroofs of their leased or purchased Nissan vehicles
spontaneously shattered as they drove on the highway.
Id. ¶¶ 54, 65.
Lohr claims she drove her leased 2015 Nissan Rogue SV for
less than six months before her panoramic sunroof
unexpectedly shattered. See id. ¶¶ 48, 54.
Ms. Lohr was driving on the highway when her panoramic
sunroof shattered and glass from the sunroof fell on her head
and body. Id. at ¶ 54. There was no indication
that anything fell on her vehicle's panoramic sunroof.
Id. at ¶ 55. Ms. Lohr drove about twenty miles
to a dealership where her vehicle could be repaired.
Id. at ¶ 57. Because Ms. Lohr's vehicle was
still under warranty, the dealership replaced her panoramic
sunroof and she was provided with a free loaner vehicle.
Id. ¶¶ 56-57. However, although her
panoramic sunroof was replaced, Ms. Lohr alleges her
panoramic sunroof was replaced with an identically defective
panoramic sunroof. Id. ¶ 58. Ms. Lohr thus
contends that Defendants have failed to correct the problem.
Id. Ms. Lohr indicates she paid a premium for her
panoramic sunroof, and that she would not have leased her
2015 Nissan Rogue SV, or she would have paid less to lease
the vehicle, had she been aware of the panoramic
sunroof's defect. Id. ¶¶ 52, 60.
to Ms. Lohr's vehicle, the panoramic sunroof of Mr.
Sindogi's 2012 Nissan Murano also shattered as Mr.
Sindogi drove on the highway in April or May 2016. Dkt. #12
¶ 65. Mr. Sindogis' family was in the vehicle at the
time, and glass from the panoramic sunroof “rained
down” on Mr. Sindogi, his wife, and his 8-year old
daughter. Id. There was no indication that anything
fell on Mr. Sindogi's vehicle, and Mr. Sindogi drove the
damaged vehicle home. Id. ¶¶ 65-66.
Because Mr. Sindogi's warranty had expired, repair of his
panoramic sunroof was not covered by Defendants. Id.
¶¶ 67-74. However, Defendants' customer care
center opened a case to determine why Mr. Sindogi's
sunroof shattered. Id. ¶ 67. Mr. Sindogi also
expended several hours to drive to the Nissan dealership
where he purchased his vehicle. Id. ¶¶
67-68. After diagnostic testing, the Nissan dealer
“could not determine what caused the panoramic sunroof
to shatter but opined that it was probably caused by
something striking the sunroof, even though no object was
seen, heard, or found at the time of the incident.”
Id. ¶ 69. Mr. Sindogi ultimately submitted a
claim through his car insurance company and, after he paid a
deductible, his panoramic sunroof was repaired. Id.
¶¶ 71-73. Mr. Sindogi claims that his panoramic
sunroof was replaced with an identically defective panoramic
sunroof. Id. ¶ 73. Following this repair, Mr.
Sindogi, concerned about the vehicle's safety, eventually
traded in his 2012 Nissan Murano for another vehicle.
Id. ¶ 75.
Ms. Lohr and Mr. Sindogi allege violations of Washington
State's Consumer Protection Act, breach of express
warranties, breach of the warranty of merchantability, and
violations of the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act
(“MMWA”) against Defendants. Dkt. #12
¶¶ 90-147. Plaintiffs request relief in the form of
actual damages, exemplary damages, restitution, disgorgement,
rescission, and injunctive relief. Id. at 38-39.
Plaintiffs seek to represent “[a]ll Washington State
residents who purchased or leased in the State of Washington
a model year 2008-2016 Rogue, Maxima, Sentra, Pathfinder or
Altima, 2009-2016 Murano, or 2011-2016 Juke with a factory
installed panoramic sunroof.” Id. ¶ 77.
survive the contention that a complaint does not state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). This requirement is met when the
plaintiff “pleads factual content that allows the court
to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The complaint
need not include detailed allegations, but it must have
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Absent facial
plausibility, Plaintiff's claims must be dismissed.
Id. at 570.
making a 12(b)(6) assessment, the court accepts all facts
alleged in the complaint as true, and makes all inferences in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Baker
v. Riverside County Office of Educ., 584 F.3d 821, 824
(9th Cir. 2009) (internal citations omitted). However, the
court is not required to accept as true a “legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555).
complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim,
“leave to amend should be granted unless the court
determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with
the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the
deficiency.” Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well
Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986).
seeks to dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint on the
following grounds: (1) Plaintiffs lack standing to pursue
their claims; (2) Plaintiffs do not adequately plead their
Washington State Consumer Protection Act claims; (3)
Plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief is preempted;
and (4) Plaintiffs do not plead viable warranty claims.
See Dkt. #22. Each of Nissan's arguments is
addressed in turn.
challenge based on lack of standing is appropriate under Rule
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Lujan
v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992);
Walsh v. Microsoft Corp., 63 F.Supp.3d 1312, 1317-18
(W.D. Wash. 2014). To demonstrate standing, Plaintiffs must
establish three elements. See Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992) (“The party
invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing these elements.”). First, Plaintiffs must
demonstrate they suffered an “injury in fact, ”
which is “an invasion of a legally protected interest
which is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or
imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.”
Id. at 560 (internal citations and quotes omitted).
Next, “the injury has to be ‘fairly . . .
trace[able] to the challenged action, '” and it
must be likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial
decision. Id. at 560-61. “At the pleading
stage, general factual allegations of injury resulting from
the defendant's conduct may suffice, for on a motion to
dismiss we ‘presum[e] that general allegations embrace
those specific facts that are necessary to support the
claim.'” Id. at 561 (quoting National
Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 889 (1990)).
poses three standing challenges to Plaintiffs' claims.
See Dkt. #22 at 10-14. First, Nissan argues that Ms.
Lohr does not have standing to bring her claims because she
has not suffered an actual injury. Id. at 10-11. To
support this argument, Nissan contends Ms. Lohr has not
suffered an economic injury because her car dealership
repaired her shattered panoramic sunroof. Id. Nissan
also argues that Ms. Lohr fails to present enough facts to
support any claim that her replacement sunroof suffers from
the same defect as the old one. Id. Nissan then
argues that because Ms. Lohr pleads she will not lease
another Nissan Rogue, and because Mr. Sindogi has sold his
Nissan Murano and bought a Toyota Sienna, both Plaintiffs
lack standing to pursue injunctive relief. Id. at
11-13. Finally, Nissan argues Plaintiffs lack standing to
pursue claims related to Nissan vehicles they did not lease
or purchase because Plaintiffs have not alleged sufficient
facts to make it plausible that the panoramic sunroofs of
vehicles not owned or leased by Plaintiffs are substantially
similar in design and manufacture to Plaintiffs'
vehicles' sunroofs. Id. at 13-14.
response, Plaintiffs contend they have standing to pursue
their claims because they have pled cognizable injuries. Dkt.
#24 at 12. With respect to Mr. Sindogi, Plaintiffs point out
that Nissan does not challenge whether Mr. Sindogi has pled a
cognizable injury. Id. Consequently, because
standing is satisfied if at least one named Plaintiff meets
the requirements for standing, Plaintiffs argue they have
standing. Id. (citing Bates v. United Parcel
Serv., Inc., 511 F.3d 974, 985 (9th Cir. 2007)).
Plaintiff also argues that Ms. Lohr has pled a cognizable
injury because she has alleged that she overpaid for a
defective panoramic sunroof and she expended a significant
amount of time and money fixing her shattered sunroof.
Id. at 12-14. With respect to Nissan's
injunctive relief argument, Plaintiffs argue that Ms. Lohr is
threatened by a repetition of Nissan's refusal to
adequately disclose and repair the defective panoramic
sunroofs because Mr. Lohr's shattered sunroof was
replaced with an equally defective sunroof which may also
shatter. Id. at 14-15. Finally, Plaintiffs argue
that whether they can pursue claims related to models of
Nissan vehicles they did not lease or purchase is ...