S&C Obtains Dismissal of Claims in FCA Ram Truck Litigation

August 14, 2020

In a favorable products liability ruling for FCA US LLC, a Michigan judge has dismissed RICO and the vast majority of state law claims asserted in a putative nationwide consumer class action concerning claimed defects in Ram 2500 and 3500 diesel trucks from model years 2013 through 2017.

Plaintiffs alleged that they “overpaid” for their trucks because of two defects of which FCA was allegedly aware at the time of sale. According to the complaint, these defects were: the potential for excess degradation of a “washcoat” (a part of the emissions control system), which was later addressed through a recall; and the potential that the trucks' particulate filters would excessively clog.

In a July 30 ruling, Judge Terrence Berg of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed all of the plaintiffs' treble-damages RICO claims, observing that "it is clear this case is not an appropriate vehicle for a civil RICO action." He also narrowed the putative class by holding that plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue any claims related to the 2017 trucks and washcoat-related claims concerning the 2016 trucks. He then dismissed the majority of state-law claims, finding that nearly all of the alleged misstatements were inactionable. He also dismissed plaintiffs' theory of misrepresentation on the basis of omissions, holding that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege FCA's knowledge of either defect at the time of sale.

After Judge Berg's decision, the only remaining claims against FCA are state-law fraud claims based on a single alleged affirmative misstatement and claims for unjust enrichment, both of which will present significant issues for plaintiffs on class certification.

The S&C team representing FCA US includes Robert Giuffra Jr., Michael Tomaino, Bill Monahan, Tom White, Matthew Peller and Michael Devlin.