Printer Friendly

Consumer protection - Automobile - Transmission.

Byline: Mass. Lawyers Weekly Staff

Where a plaintiff who purchased a vehicle with an allegedly defective transmission has sued the defendant manufacturer for violating G.L.c. 93A, the plaintiff's allegations of harm are sufficient to withstand the defendant's motion to dismiss.

"[Defendant] Nissan first accuses [plaintiff Krista] Costa of 'describ[ing] vague symptoms supposedly related to transmission performance, [but] not identify[ing] any particular defect in the vehicle's design, workmanship or materials.' ... According to Nissan, Costa has neither alleged 'any particular misrepresentation' nor 'identif[ied] any legally enforceable standard that the [continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)] components did not meet.'

"Here, Costa has described how the alleged CVT defect manifested itself in reality both generally, and in her own car while she operated it between October 2014 and June 2018. ... She also has plainly asserted that the alleged defect culminated in a total transmission failure, which occurred while she was driving and required the costly replacement of her CVT. ... In other words, Costa has not simply identified a theoretical injury which she speculates could arise due to an unspecified 'defect,' like the plaintiffs in Iannacchino [v. Ford Motor Co., 888 N.E.2d 879, 888 (Mass. 2008)]. She alleges that she personally experienced recurrent safety-related performance problems, actual property damage, and real economic harm.

"Moreover, Costa has identified particular promotional statements made by Nissan which, she claims, were deceptive in light of the problems she says resulted from the allegedly defective CVTs problems she states were known to Nissan before Costa purchased her car. ... Contrary to Nissan's urging, no more is required of Costa at the pleading stage."

Warranty claims

"As to Costa's state and federal warranty claims, Nissan emphasizes Costa's admission that she drove her Altima for nearly four years (and, apparently, for tens of thousands of miles) without serious incident. ... Suggesting that any 'issues [Costa] was experiencing with her transmission ... clearly did not prevent her from using the vehicle for transportation,' Nissan seeks a finding that the car was 'merchantable as a matter of law.'

"In her complaint, Costa describes a CVT defect which interfered with the performance of the subject vehicles including her own car while they were operating. She does not merely allege that her transmission 'simply w[ore] out faster than might otherwise be expected,' ; rather, she describes safety-related consequences, such as sudden loss of momentum, unexpected surges of power, and inoperable brake lights. 'The severity of these issues and the extent to which they may have rendered the vehicle unmerchantable is a question of fact.' ... Costa's allegations are plainly sufficient to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge to her warranty claims."

Costa v. Nissan North America, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 02-042-19) (6 pages) (Sorokin, J.) (Civil No. 18-11523-LTS) (Jan. 18, 2019).

Click to read the full text of the opinion.

Copyright {c} 2019 BridgeTower Media. All Rights Reserved.

COPYRIGHT 2019 BridgeTower Media Holding Company, LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Costa v. Nissan North America, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Publication:Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Date:Jan 28, 2019
Previous Article:Employment - USERRA - Discrimination.
Next Article:Attorneys - Suspension - Lack of candor.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters