Decision Rejects Mercedes’ Attempt to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Claims that Mercedes Knowingly Sold Them Cars With Defective, Mold-Harboring HVAC Systems
On March 13, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg of the Northern District of Georgia issued an order denying most of Mercedes’s arguments attempting to dismiss Plaintiffs’ putative class action against Mercedes over allegations of mold in Mercedes vehicle AC. At the same time, the Court confirmed the validity of plaintiffs’ claims that Mercedes-Benz misled its customers by selling them expensive cars Mercedes knew to have defective, mold-harboring climate control systems. “Plaintiffs just want Mercedes to do right by its customers,” noted Lieff Cabraser’s Annika K. Martin, who represents the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. “The Court’s opinion today is another positive step towards holding Mercedes accountable for cheating its customers.”
Under the applicable legal standard, that a claim is plausible where the plaintiff alleges factual content that “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged,” the court upheld plaintiffs’ claims for breach of implied warranty, as well as plaintiffs’ claims under the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act, O.C.G.A. §§10-1-390 et seq., including claims that Mercedes actively concealed the defect in plaintiffs’ vehicles’ HVAC systems and their knowledge of that defect from consumers. The Court also upheld a portion of plaintiffs’ additional claims under Georgia’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, O.C.G.A. § 10-1-370, et seq., as well as plaintiffs’ claims under Georgia law for fraudulent concealment and claims for unjust enrichment.
Per the Court’s order, the case will now move into the discovery phase. In particular, the Court has asked the parties to consider how discovery already taken in the related California case can be applied in this case to save time and cost, and increase efficiency in the discovery process.