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Peterson v. Mazda Motor of Am., Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 9, 2014

LYNN PETERSON
v.
MAZDA MOTOR OF AMERICA, INC

Page 966

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF: None Present.

ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANT: None Present.

Page 967

CIVIL MINUTES -- GENERAL

PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO STRIKE [34] AND MOTION TO DISMISS FIRST AND THIRD CAUSES OF ACTION [32]

HONORABLE DAVID O. CARTER, JUDGE.

Before the Court are Defendant's Motion to Strike Marketing, Advertising, and Warranty Allegations and Exhibits in Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (" Motion to Strike" ) (Dkt. 34) and Motion to Dismiss First and Third Causes of Action (" Motion to Dismiss" ) (Dkt. 32). The Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15. After reviewing the moving and opposing papers and the reply, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant's Motion to Strike and GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

The Court draws the following facts from the First Amended Complaint (" FAC" ) (Dkt. 30). Many of the allegations are essentially the same as in the original complaint.

A. Mazda

Mazda Motor of America, Inc. (" Mazda" ) promotes, markets, manufactures, and distributes vehicles in interstate commerce. FAC ¶ 10. As part of its vehicle designs, Mazda features variable valve timing (VVT) assemblies on several of its models, including the Mazda CX-7. Id. ¶ 22. In November 2007, Mazda released a Technical Service Bulletin (" TSB" ) explaining to authorized dealers that some vehicles were experiencing a loud ticking noise when the engine started because the VVT actuator was not fully engaging. Id. ¶ 26. At this time, the TSB applied to several models, including the 2007 CX-7. Id. ¶ 27. Between 2007 and February 2011, Mazda released at least seven iterations of this TSB relating to its VVT. Id. ¶ 32.

Owners of defective vehicles reported VVT assembly failure on vehicles with as little as one year in service and 20,000 miles. Id. ¶ 24. This defect was also associated with unexpected engine failure. Id. ¶ 33. Such engine failures posed a safety threat to drivers and passengers. Id. ¶ 51.

B. Ms. Peterson

On or about September 4, 2007, Plaintiff Lynn Peterson purchased a 2008 Mazda CX-7 from an authorized Mazda representative in Laguna Hills, California. Id. ¶ 55. In March 2012, Ms. Peterson's 2008 Mazda CX-7 experienced a VVT assembly failure. She did not know until approximately March 2012 that the VVT assembly

Page 968

was defective. She had the vehicle's VVT assembly repaired at Neftin Westlake Mazda in Thousand Oaks, California, resulting in out-of-pocket repair cost in excess of one thousand dollars. Id. ¶ ¶ 55-57. After suffering economic loss, Ms. Peterson alleges that she would not have purchased the vehicle if Mazda representatives had not concealed facts regarding the latent defect in the VVT assembly. Id. ¶ 56.

Ms. Peterson filed her original complaint in this action in December 2013, alleging (1) violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (" CLRA" ); (2) violations of California's False Advertising Law; (3) violations of California's Unfair Competition Law (" UCL" ); (4) violations of California's Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (" Song-Beverly" or " Song-Beverly Act" ); (5) breach of express warranty; (6) breach of implied warranty; (7) fraudulent concealment; and (8) declaratory relief. Compl. (Dkt. 1). On July 3, 2014, the Court dismissed all of her claims with leave to amend. Order, July 3, 2014 (" Order" ) (Dkt. 29).

On July 17, 2014, Ms. Peterson filed the FAC alleging (1) violations of the Song-Beverly Act; (2) breach of implied warranty; (3) violations of the UCL; and (4) declaratory relief. FAC. Mazda brings this Motion to dismiss the Song-Beverly and UCL claims for failure to state a claim.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Motion to Strike

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) provides that a court " may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Motions to strike are disfavored and " will usually be denied unless the allegations have no possible relation to the controversy and may cause prejudice to one of the parties." Friedman v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc., 580 F.Supp.2d 985, 990 (C.D. Cal. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The Ninth Circuit has defined " immaterial" matter as " that which has no essential or important relationship to the claim for relief or the defenses being pleaded." Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d 1524, 1527 (9th ...


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