Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Vazquez v. General Motors LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

January 16, 2018

MICHAEL VAZQUEZ, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DARRIN P. GAYLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendant General Motors LLC's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Class Action Complaint [ECF No. 19] (“Motion”). The Court has reviewed the submissions of the parties and the applicable law and is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs Michael Vazquez and Michael Malone (“Plaintiffs”), both seeking to represent a class of Florida purchasers of Defendant General Motors LLC's (GM) Corvette Z06, are “track enthusiasts.” Each purchased his Z06 for use both on public roads and on specialized closed tracks. Plaintiffs allege that GM marketed and sold the Z06 for use on race tracks-as evidenced by GM's information kits and brochures, the car's track-focused features, owner's manuals for the vehicle, press kits, and GM-sponsored track events-and that Plaintiffs relied on this marketing in deciding to purchase their vehicles. The 2015 vehicle information kit, for instance, described the benefits of a particular optional package as “faster lap times, ” including “[q]uarter-mile times of 10.95 seconds at 127 mph with the eight-speed and 11.2 seconds at 127 mph with the seven-speed transmission.” Compl. ¶ 50. The 2015 product information brochure noted that the Z06 was “developed to push the envelope of performance on the street and the track.” Id. ¶ 51. The brochure likewise lauded the increased cooling components on the car, representations that Plaintiffs allege were intended to assure consumers that the Z06 could handle high temperatures. Id. ¶ 53. Numerous promotional materials described the vehicle as “track-proven” or “race-proven.” Id. ¶¶ 50, 54. Consonant with those marketing materials, the Z06 was equipped with features one might expect in a car designed for track racing, including a specific “Track App” software component. Id. ¶¶ 55-56. And its 2015 and 2016 owner's manuals contemplated track use, offering detailed instructions on track driving. Id. ¶¶ 57-58. Meanwhile, press kits and GM-sponsored track events further indicated that the car was intended for use on race tracks. Id. ¶¶ 59-61.

         According to the Complaint, the Z06, a car marketed and sold for both everyday use and for the race track, has a significant flaw: a design defect[1] makes it unsuitable for track driving. Plaintiffs allege that due to a defective cooling system, “the engine will overheat if it operates on the track during a typical track session, which causes the Z06 to go into Limp Mode to prevent permanent damage, or causes the driver to see the overheat gauge and pit the car before it goes into Limp Mode.”[2] Id. ¶ 63. When the car enters Limp Mode, it automatically slows. Plaintiffs argue that it is inherently dangerous for the vehicle to enter Limp Mode either at the track or on public roads because sudden deceleration of a vehicle increases the risk of collision. Id. ¶¶ 63, 65-66. And the unexpected overheating can damage other components of the car as well. Id. ¶ 64.

         According to Plaintiffs, GM knew of the defect but continued to market the cars for track driving. Plaintiffs allege that GM had conducted extensive track testing of the vehicle, which would have revealed the alleged defect. Id. ¶ 70. Likewise, Plaintiffs offer examples of online consumer complaints regarding the overheating issue and allege that GM monitors the online forums on which these complaints were lodged. Id. ¶¶ 75-82. Plaintiffs assert that a February 2015 statement by Corvette's chief engineer, Tadge Juechter, providing advice for how to avoid overheating while driving on tracks, demonstrated the company's awareness of the problem. Id. ¶ 74. Similarly, Plaintiffs allege that GM effectively admitted to the defect when it stopped production of the Z06 in 2016 due to the overheating issue and modified the cooling system in the 2017 model. Id. ¶ 71.

         Plaintiffs' vehicles are covered by GM's express limited warranty, which in relevant part provides:

The warranty covers repairs to correct any vehicle defect, not slight noise, vibrations, or other normal characteristics of the vehicle due to materials or workmanship occurring during the warranty period. Needed repairs will be performed using new, remanufactured, or refurbished parts.

Id. ¶ 85. Plaintiffs assert that this warranty covers both manufacturing and design defects, but that GM has refused to repair the alleged design defect in their vehicles. Id. ¶ 87.

         In June 2017, six named plaintiffs covering five states filed the instant Class Action Complaint [ECF No. 1], seeking to represent a nationwide class and numerous statewide classes of purchasers of the Z06. After Defendant filed its Motion, Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed all non-Florida plaintiffs and their claims, leaving two named plaintiffs and five remaining claims: (1) violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq.); (2) violation of Florida's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Fla. Stat. § 501.201 et seq.); (3) fraudulent concealment (based on Florida law); (4) breach of express warranty (Fla. Stat. § 672.313); and (5) unjust enrichment (based on Florida law). [See ECF No. 30]. In the instant Motion, GM seeks Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of all five remaining claims in the Complaint for failure to state a claim.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a claim “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)). In other words, it must contain “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. While a court must accept well-pleaded factual allegations as true, “conclusory allegations . . . are not entitled to an assumption of truth-legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations.” Randall v. Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 709-10 (11th Cir. 2010). “[T]he pleadings are construed broadly, ” Levine v. World Fin. Network Nat'l Bank, 437 F.3d 1118, 1120 (11th Cir. 2006), and the allegations in the complaint are viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Bishop v. Ross Earle & Bonan, P.A., 817 F.3d 1268, 1270 (11th Cir. 2016). At bottom, the question is not whether the claimant “will ultimately prevail . . . but whether his complaint [is] sufficient to cross the federal court's threshold.” Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 530 (2011).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The five remaining counts of the Complaint fall into two major categories: warranty claims and fraud claims. And as an alternative to the contract-based warranty claims, Plaintiffs bring a claim for unjust enrichment. The Court will take each claim in turn.

         A. Warranty Claims

         1. Breach of Express Warranty in Violation of Florida Statute § 672.313 (Count 4)

         Plaintiffs' central warranty claim is that GM's failure to remedy the vehicle's defects constitutes breach of the express limited warranty.[3] As set forth ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.