In Keegan v. American Honda Motor Co., ___ F.R.D. ___, 2012 WL 2250040 (C.D. Cal. Jun. 12, 2012), Judge Margaret M. Morrow of the Central District of California construed and distinguished the Ninth Circuit's opinion in Mazza v. American Honda, 666 F.3d 581 (9th Cir. 2012), and partially granted class certification of UCL, CLRA and other claims.
Here is one passage addressing Mazza:
The court is mindful of the Ninth Circuit's warning that differences in state law concerning the need for proof of reliance can “spell the difference between the success and failure of the claim.” Mazza, 666 F.3d at 591. Mazza, however, addressed omissions in advertisements and oral statements that included differing information. The Ninth Circuit concluded that “[a] presumption of reliance [could] not arise when class members ‘were exposed to quite disparate information from various representatives of the defendant.’ “ Id. at 596 (quoting Stearns, 655 F.3d at 1020). It noted further: “For everyone in the class to have been exposed to the omissions, as the dissent claims, it is necessary for everyone in the class to have viewed the allegedly misleading advertising. Here the limited scope of that advertising makes it unreasonable to assume that all class members viewed it.” Id.
In this case, by contrast, plaintiffs allege that defendants did not disclose to any member of the class information regarding the potential for excessive and premature tire wear caused by negative camber. There is no question of different statements being made to different groups of consumers, or certain class members being exposed to information others were not. Consequently, the court concludes that any potential differences in state law concerning the proof of reliance that is necessary to prevail on consumer protection claims do not defeat predominance in this case.
Keegan, 2012 WL 2250040 at *33-*34.
The order also has this passage on class certification of a UCL "fraudulent" prong claim:
As is clear from the California Supreme Court's decision in In re Tobacco II Cases, 46 Cal.4th 298 (2009), moreover, there is no need to prove reliance on an individual basis. Rather, “In re Tobacco II Cases set out a liberal approach to the reliance inquiry,” permitting plaintiffs to prove a UCL violation by presenting “generalized evidence that Defendants' conduct was ‘likely to deceive’ members of the public.” Plascencia v. Lending 1 st Mortgage LLC, 259 F.R.D. 437, 448 (N.D. Cal. 2009). Indeed, as with the CLRA, materiality is relevant to prove reliance, since “a presumption, or at least an inference, of reliance arises wherever there is a showing that a misrepresentation was material.” In re Tobacco II,46 Cal.4th at 327. Consequently, a violation of the UCL can be proved with common evidence regarding the nature of the design defect in question, the likely effect of the defect on class vehicles, its likely impact on vehicle safety, what Honda knew or did not know, and what it disclosed or did not disclose to consumers. See Yamada, 275 F.R.D. at 578 (“[I]t is unlikely that a member of the putative class would have purchased the NobelDirect product without having been influenced by Defendants' uniform marketing claims. Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume that no rational member of the putative class would have purchased and used the NobelDirect implant had he or she been aware of the alleged defective design”); Delarosa v. Boiron, Inc., 275 F.R.D 582, 594 (C.D. Cal. 2011) (“In addition, Defendant's arguments that it can present proof that Coldcalm worked for some individual class members goes to the proof of the merits of Plaintiff's claim, not to the common question as to the overall efficacy of the product”).
Id. at *23.
Many thanks to the friend who forwarded this decision.