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Defective MINI Run Flat Tire Case Not Certified As A Class Action

A federal court in New York last week denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification in a case alleging that the run-flat tires on defendant BMW's MINI Cooper S were defective. See Oscar v. BMW of North America LLC, No. 1:09-cv-00011-RJH (S.D.N.Y. 6/7/11).

In Oscar, the plaintiff purchased a new 2006 MINI Cooper S from BMW-MINI of Manhattan, but prior to purchasing the MINI did not do any sort of research or take the car for a test drive. As of December 2, 2009, a period of about three years, Oscar had had five flat tires and alleged in his suit that the flats are due to the run flat tires and claims the number of flat tires he experienced to be evidence of a widespread defect. Oscar tried to certify a nationwide class (or a New York class) of all consumers who purchased or leased new 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 MINIs equipped with Run-Flat Extended Mobility Technology (RFT) tires manufactured by Goodyear and sold or leased in the United States whose Tires have gone flat and have been replaced.

The court determined that most of plaintiff's evidence of numerosity did not correlate directly to his class definition: data that may have included other vehicles, or non-RFT tires, or makers other than Goodyear but that the case fell "right on the border between appropriate inference and inappropriate speculation." Accordingly, numerosity was satisfied for the proposed national class but not the New York class. However, Oscar failed to show a common tire defect for the class because "determining whether each tire failed as a result of the allegedly concealed defect or as a result of unrelated issues, e.g., potholes or reckless driving habits, would devolve into numerous mini-trials." Thus, the Court refused to certify a class action against BMW over the MINI's run flat tires.

[Source: JDSupra]