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Reniger v. Hyundai Motor America

United States District Court, N.D. California

August 8, 2016

JULIA RENIGER, GREG BATTAGLIA, LUCIA SAITTA and ANN MANCUSO, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA, a California corporation, and HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY, a foreign corporation, Defendants.

          GLANCY PRONGAY & MURRAY LLP Lionel Z. Glancy (#134180) Mark S. Greenstone (#199606) Attorneys for Plaintiffs


          Claudia Wilken, Judge

         WHEREAS, on August 8, 2014, Plaintiffs Julia Reniger and Greg Battaglia filed a putative nationwide class action lawsuit (“Complaint” or “Action”) against Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Motor Company (“Hyundai”) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Case No. 14-cv-3612-CW alleging that Defendants committed unfair and deceptive business practices by failing to disclose and concealing material information about the unexpected stalling of Hyundai Santa Fe model year 2010-2012 vehicles (“Stalling Defect”). Plaintiffs’ Complaint asserted claims for violations of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1750, et seq. (“CLRA”), California’s Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq. (“UCL”), violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301 (“Mag-Moss”), and for breach of implied warranty pursuant to the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1792 and 1791.1, et seq. (“Song Beverly”). Dkt. 1, ¶¶ 61-109.

         WHEREAS on October 6, 2014 Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to strike portions of the Complaint.

         WHEREAS in response to Defendants’ motion to dismiss and motion to strike portions of the Complaint, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint on October 27, 2014 and a Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) on November 24, 2014. Plaintiffs’ SAC added Lucia Saitta and Ann Mancuso as plaintiffs; alleged supplemental facts concerning the Stalling Defect; asserted additional claims for violation of New York Deceptive Practice Act (N.Y. Gen. Bus. L. § 349, et seq.), violation of the New York False Advertising Law (N.Y. Gen. Bus. L. § 350, et seq.), breach of implied warranty pursuant to New York Uniform Commercial Code (N.Y. U.C.C. § 2-314), and common law fraud; and alleged a New York Sub-Class.

         WHEREAS on January 26, 2015 Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to strike portions of the SAC, which the Court granted in part (as to Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ FAL claims, New York implied warranty claims and derivative Mag-Moss claims) and denied in part (as to the remaining claims and Defendants’ motion to strike). Accordingly, on September 1, 2015 Plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) dropping the FAL claims and re-alleging the New York implied warranty claim and the derivative Mag-Moss claim.

         WHEREAS, on September 15, 2015 Defendants filed answers to the TAC in which they expressly denied any and all wrongdoing alleged in the action, and neither admitted nor conceded any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing or liability in connection with any facts or claims that have been or could have been alleged against them in the Action.

         WHEREAS, the Parties have entered into a Class Action Settlement Agreement and Release (“Agreement”), the fairness, reasonableness, and adequateness of which is the subject of this Order, in which the Parties have agreed to settle the Action pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Agreement, and which will result in dismissal of the Action with prejudice;

         WHEREAS on August 3, 2016 Plaintiffs filed a Fourth Amended Complaint to align the allegations and class definition therein with the class as defined in the Agreement;

         WHEREAS, Class Counsel have conducted a thorough examination, investigation, and evaluation of the relevant law, facts, and allegations to assess the merits of the claims and potential claims to determine the strength of both defenses and liability sought in the Action, including pretrial discovery, defeating in part a motion to dismiss and a motion to strike, the evaluation of documents and information provided by Defendants, independent investigation into the underlying facts, legal research as to the sufficiency of the claims and appropriateness of class certification, and an evaluation of the risks associated with continued litigation, trial, and/or appeal; and

         WHEREAS, the Parties reached the Settlement as a result of extensive arms’-length negotiations that occurred over the course of an full-day mediation before retired federal Magistrate Judge Edward Infante followed by three months of continued negotiations with the assistance of Judge Infante, and counsel for the Parties are highly experienced in this type of litigation, with full knowledge of the risks inherent in the Action;

         WHEREAS, the Court has carefully reviewed the Agreement, including the exhibits attached thereto and all files, records and prior proceedings to date in this matter, and good cause appearing based on the record, IT IS hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED as follows:

         1. Defined Terms. For purposes of this Order, except as otherwise indicated herein, the Court adopts and incorporates the definitions contained in the Agreement.

         2. Stay of the Action. All proceedings in the Action, other than proceedings necessary to carry out or enforce the terms and conditions of the Agreement and this Order, are hereby stayed.

         3. Preliminary Class Certification for Settlement Purposes Only. The Action is preliminarily certified as a class action, for settlement purposes only, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) and (b)(3). The Court preliminarily finds for settlement purposes that: (a) the Class certified herein numbers at least in the tens of thousands of persons, and joinder of all such persons would be impracticable, (b) there are questions of law and fact that are common to the Class, and those questions of law and fact common to the Class predominate over any questions affecting any individual Class Member; (c) the claims of the Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the Class they seek to represent for purposes of settlement; (d) a class action on behalf of the Class is superior to other available means of adjudicating this dispute; and (e) as set forth below, Plaintiffs and Class Counsel are adequate representatives of the Class. Defendants retain all rights to assert that the Action may not be certified as a class action, other than for settlement purposes. The Court also ...

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