Dewey v. Volkswagen of America, No. CIV. A. 07-2249, CIV. A. 07-2361, 2010 WL 3018305 (D.N.J. Jul 30, 2010).
In this consolidated class action, the Magistrate Judge in New Jersey while certifying the settlement class and finally approving the class settlement found that the Court had diversity jurisdiction under CAFA.
The plaintiffs, John Dewey et al., filed a class action alleging that certain Volkswagen and Audi vehicles have defectively designed pollen filter gasket areas and sunroof drains, and asserted claims based on the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), the Uniform Commercial Code, common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment.
One week later, the plaintiff, Jacqueline Delguercio, initiated a substantially similar class action alleging that the defendants breached express and implied warranties, improperly repaired the vehicles, breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, made negligent misrepresentations, violated the CFA, were unjustly enriched, and engaged in fraud.
Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that design defects in the sunroof drain, the pollen filter, the plenum drains, and other parts of Volkswagen and Audi vehicles caused water to pool and spill over, rather than drain, damaging the interior cabin, transmission, and/or electrical systems of the car.
After the District Court consolidated these two actions, and after more than two years of discovery, the parties settled the dispute. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge preliminarily approved the settlement class and class settlement.
Subsequently, when the mater came up for certification of the settlement class and final approval of the class settlement, the Magistrate Judge first considered if the Court had jurisdiction under CAFA.
The Magistrate Judge observed that the Court had subject matter jurisdiction because the parties established minimal diversity under CAFA, 28 U.S.C. §1332(d). The Court noted that first, the dispute involved more than one million class members; second, the monetary component of the settlement alone was $8 million; and the plaintiffs were from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and California, and the defendants, Audi and Volkswagen, were German companies, and its affiliates were New Jersey and Delaware corporations.
Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge finally approved the class settlement.