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Allagas v. BP Solar International Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

September 8, 2014

MICHAEL ALLAGAS, ARTHUR RAY, AND BRETT MOHRMAN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BP SOLAR INTERNATIONAL INC., HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC., AND DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE

SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge.

Currently before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' first amended complaint and defendants' motion to strike plaintiffs' class allegations. Docket No. 36. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court determines that this matter is appropriate for resolution without oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES the motion to dismiss and DENIES the motion to strike.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from the operative complaint. Plaintiffs Michael Allagas, Arthur Ray, and Brett Mohrman seek recovery on behalf of themselves and all California residents who purchased solar panels manufactured by defendant BP Solar International, Inc., or purchased properties on which the solar panels were installed. First Amended Complaint (FAC) ¶¶ 1, 4. Plaintiffs allege claims for breach of express and implied warranty under California law, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1790 et seq., and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2302; violation of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), Cal. Civ. Code § 1750 et seq. ; and violations of California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq.

In December 2005, plaintiff Allagas purchased a BP Solar Home Solution - which included twenty-four BP 4175B solar panels - from defendant Home Depot. Id. ¶ 5. In August 2005, plaintiff Ray purchased a solar system from Diablo Solar Services that consisted of eighteen BP SX 170B solar panels.[1] Id. ¶ 6. And in June 2012, plaintiff Mohrman purchased a home on which a solar system consisting of twenty BP 2150S solar panels was previously installed. Id. ¶ 7.

Plaintiffs allege that there is a latent defect in the junction box of the BP solar panels that causes a junction box failure and results in a total loss of functionality of the solar panels. FAC at 3. The solar panels are installed on racks which are mounted on the roof of a house or the ground. Id. ¶ 15. The panels are connected together by connection cables. Id. ¶ 16. If one solar panel fails, the panels connected to it also stop functioning. Id. ¶ 17. The connection between the solar panels is made at a junction box attached to the back of each solar panel. Id. Plaintiffs allege that a defect in the junction box and the solder joints between the connecting cables causes the solder joint to overheat; the failed solder joints cause electrical arcing that generates temperatures of XXXX-XXXX degrees and results in the immediate total loss of the functionality of the solar panel and also creates a serious fire safety risk. Id. ¶ 18. The heat melts the junction box, burns the cables and solar panels, and shatters the glass cover of the panels. Id. ¶ 19. According to plaintiffs, because of the defect in the junction box, all solar panels relevant to this litigation have failed or will fail before the end of the expected useful life. Id. ¶ 20.

Also at issue in this case are the solar panel marketing and advertising materials BP produced; the warranties and representations BP made regarding the solar panels; the offers BP made to warranty claimants; and a product advisory issued by BP regarding risks when using certain solar panels. Id. at 8-18.

Plaintiffs seek to represent in this action a class composed of six subclasses:

1) Initial Purchaser Subclass: All persons or entities who purchased solar panels for installation in California.
2) Initial Purchaser Consumer Subclass: All persons who purchased solar panels for installation in California on a private residence.
3) Home Depot Subclass: All members of the Initial Purchaser Subclass who purchased solar panels from Home Depot.
4) Home Depot Consumer Subclass: All members of the Home Depot Subclass who purchased the solar panels for installation in California on a private residence.
5) Subsequent Purchaser Subclass: All persons or entities who purchased buildings in California on which the solar panels were first mounted.
6) Subsequent Purchaser Consumer Subclass: All persons who purchased private residences in California on which the ...

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