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Bulaon v. General Motors LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

October 29, 2019

Mike Bulaon et al
v.
General Motors LLC, et al.

          Present: The Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, U.S. District Judge

          CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

         Proceedings (In Chambers): ORDER RE: DEFENDANT GENERAL MOTORS LLC'S MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE [31]; PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO REMAND [30]

         Before the Court are two motions:

         The first is Defendant General Motors LLC's (“GM”) Motion to Transfer Venue, filed on September 3, 2019 (“Transfer Motion”). (Docket No. 31). On September 16, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an Opposition, and on September 23, 2019, GM filed a Reply. (Docket Nos. 34, 37).

         The second is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand this Case to Los Angeles Superior Court, filed on September 3, 2019 (“Remand Motion”). (Docket No. 30). On September 16, 2019, GM filed an Opposition, and on September 23, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Reply. (Docket Nos. 35, 36). On September 30, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Recent Decision in support of the Remand Motion. (Docket No. 38).

         The Court has read and considered the papers filed on the Transfer Motion and the Remand Motion, and held a hearing on October 7, 2019.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court rules as follows:

         • The Transfer Motion is GRANTED, and the case is transferred to the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs' sole argument for why this case should not be transferred is that the Court should decide the Transfer Motion prior to the Remand Motion. However, the Court will exercise its discretion to decide the Transfer Motion without ruling on the first, considering the complexity of the Remand Motion, the number of cases with similar, if not exact, issues pending in the Eastern District of Michigan, and the cases in the Ninth Circuit clearly stating that the Court can exercise its discretion to rule on the Transfer Motion first.

         • The Court declines to rule on the Remand Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Plaintiffs' Allegations

         In their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege as follows:

         Plaintiffs are a collection of aggrieved buyers of GM's Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles. (Complaint ¶¶ 1, 21-93). GM promised that the Duramax engines in these vehicles turned “heavy diesel fuel into a fine mist, ” which resulted in “low emissions” that were a “whopping reduction” compared to the prior model. (Id.). GM promised that the vehicles could still produce “great power, ” as a result of its engineers accomplishing “a remarkable reduction of diesel emissions.” (Id.).

         However, scientifically valid emissions testing conducted by engineering experts who were retained by Class Counsel in In re Duramax Diesel Litigation, No. 2:17-cv-11661 (E.D. Mich.) (the “Duramax Class Action”) has revealed that the Silverado and Sierra 2500 and 3500 models do not emit low emissions. (Id. ¶ 2). Instead, they emit levels of NOx many times higher than (i) their gasoline counterparts; (ii) what a reasonable consumer would expect; (iii) what GM had advertised; (iv) the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum standards; and (v) the levels set for the vehicles to obtain a certificate of compliance that allows them to be sold in the United States. (Id.). Making matters worse, the only way to reach GM's promises is to turn off or turn down emissions controls when the software in the vehicles senses they are not in an emissions testing environment. (Id.). Accordingly, Plaintiffs allege that these vehicles emit far ...


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