United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS RE DKT., 36
H. KOH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Huu Nguyen (“Plaintiff”) sues Defendant Nissan
North America, Inc. (“Nissan” or
“Defendant”) for causes of action arising out of
Nissan's allegedly deceptive sale of vehicles containing
a defective manual transmission. ECF No. 35 (First Amended
Complaint, or “FAC”). Before the Court is
Nissan's motion to dismiss. ECF No. 36
(“Mot.”). Having considered the submissions of
the parties, the relevant law, and the record in this case,
the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss.
seeks to represent a class of consumers who purchased or
leased any Nissan vehicle equipped with the FS6R31A manual
transmission. FAC ¶ 1. These vehicles include the Nissan
350Z, model years 2007-2009; the Nissan 370Z, model years
2009-2015; the Infiniti G35, model years 2007-2008; the
Infiniti G37, model years 2008-2014; and the Infiniti Q60
(hereinafter, the “Class Vehicles”). Id.
The Clutch Assembly Defect
FS6R31A manual transmission in Class Vehicles uses a
hydraulic clutch system. Id. ¶ 8. In a
hydraulic clutch system, when the driver depresses the clutch
pedal, “fluid pushes from the clutch master cylinder to
the slave cylinder, developing hydraulic pressure and
ultimately disconnecting the transmission from the engine via
the clutch disc to allow for smooth gear shifts.”
Id. The FS6R31A manual transmission utilizes an
internal slave cylinder, as opposed to an external slave
cylinder. Id. The internal slave cylinder is
“placed inside the [bellhousing] unit along with the
clutch disc, pressure plate, and flywheel.”
alleges that the FS6R31A manual transmission in Class
Vehicles suffers from “a design flaw in the slave
cylinder assembly.” Id. ¶ 12.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that “the plastic
internal cylinder requires excessive manipulation during the
[Class Vehicles'] initial assembly in order to fit inside
the bellhousing unit, ” which “caus[es] stress
fractures from which hydraulic fluid leaks.”
Id. ¶ 12. “As the stress fractures grow,
so does the deprivation of hydraulic fluid from the clutch
master cylinder to the slave cylinder, which causes damage to
the vehicle's clutch slave cylinder, clutch disc, and
pressure plate.” Id. ¶ 12. This problem
“is exacerbated by the slave cylinder's thin
composition that is prone to corrosion by constant exposure
to hydraulic fluid.” Id.
alleged design flaw in the Class Vehicles' slave cylinder
assembly (hereinafter, the “Clutch Assembly
Defect”) causes “the clutch to lose hydraulic
pressure and fail to engage/disengage gears.”
Id. ¶ 10. This “causes unsafe conditions,
including drivers' inability to shift gears or maneuver
the clutch pedal in the Class Vehicles, thereby rendering the
vehicles unable to accelerate and decelerate, often while the
vehicles are already in motion.” Id.
Nissan's Knowledge of the Defect
to Plaintiff, Nissan “knew or should have known”
about the Clutch Assembly Defect “[d]ating back to at
least 2008.” Id. ¶ 15, 49.
alleges that consumers filed complaints with the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”)
regarding the 2007 Nissan 350Z as early as June 2007.
Id. ¶ 52. In January 2008, Nissan issued a
customer service program, “CSP NTB08-002, ”
“for all 2007 Nissan 350Z vehicles. Id. ¶
16. “Nissan discover[ed] ‘that on certain 2007
350Z vehicles equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission,
the clutch slave cylinder assembly may not have been
manufactured properly, '” which “could result
in the operating force of the clutch pedal becoming light,
and in some cases, could result in improper clutch
operation.” Id. Despite Nissan's customer
service program, consumers continued to experience the same
clutch issue. Id. ¶ 16.
April 10, 2013, Nissan issued a Technical Service Bulletin
“for all 2009-2013 Nissan 370Z vehicles stating that
‘the clutch pedal on an applied vehicle does not return
to its normal (rested) position after being depressed to the
floor.'” Id. ¶ 17. “Nissan
dealers were instructed to change the clutch hydraulic system
fluid for all affected vehicles.” Id.
alleges that “Nissan knew about and concealed the
Clutch Assembly Defect present in every Class Vehicle”
from Plaintiff and other class members “at the time of
sale, lease, and repair and thereafter.” Id.
¶ 24. “[I]nstead of repairing the defects in the
Manual Transmission, Nissan either refused to ...