United States District Court, N.D. Ohio
DONNA MOORADIAN, ET AL. Plaintiffs,
FCA US, LLC, Defendant.
OPINION & ORDER [RESOLVING DOC. NO. 30]
S. GWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
make claims that allege a manufacturing defect in 2012-2017
Jeep Wranglers.Defendant FCA US, LLC (“FCA”)
moves to dismiss Plaintiffs Donna and William Mooradian's
and Plaintiff Joseph White's (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) complaint for failure to state a
reasons below, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN
PART Defendant's motion to dismiss.
The Manufacturing Process and Alleged Defect
FCA US, LLC manufactures Jeep Wranglers. When making the
Wranglers' engines, FCA uses a sand-casting method to
create some engine components and a die-casting method to
create others. This sand-casting method “utilizes
expendable sand molds to form complex metal parts from
manufacturing 2012-2017 Wranglers, FCA used a die-casting
method to create the Wranglers' engine blocks, but used a
sand-casting method to make the engine's cylinder
head.Any excess sand from this sand-casting
method must be purged from the cylinder head, or it will
gradually seep into other engine component
excess sand can “improperly circulate through the
vehicle's cooling system and settle in the heater core,
radiator, and oil cooling systems.” Eventually, this
excess sand forms a sludge in the bottom of the radiator
reservoir that can cause the vehicle's heating and
cooling systems to malfunction and fail. This makes
driving in extreme heat or cold potentially dangerous or
allege that sand begins to shed from the engine cylinder head
as soon as someone drives the vehicle, but this issue is only
discovered once the heating and cooling systems fail.
Moreover, normal maintenance, such as an engine flush, does
not fix this problem. This is because the sand-based sludge
builds up at the bottom of the radiator, which an engine
flush does not reach. Additionally, sand continues to build
up in the engine once the vehicle operates
allege that Defendants' failure to adequately clean
cylinder heads created a manufacturing defect in 2012-2017
provides two relevant express warranties that cover 2012-2017
Jeep Wranglers. The 3-year/36, 000 mile “Basic Limited
Warranty” “covers the cost of all parts and labor
needed to repair any item” on the vehicle except
“tires and Unwired [sic]
headphones.” The 5-year/100, 000 mile
“Powertrain Limited Warranty” “covers the
cost of all parts and labor needed to repair” a limited
number of parts, including the engine cylinder head
2013, the Mooradians leased a new 2013 Jeep Wrangler
Unlimited from an authorized Jeep dealer. In October
2016, the heat in the Mooradians' Jeep only blew cold air
from the vents, even though it was on the highest setting.
The defroster also only emitted cold air, which caused the
windshield to fog during use.
problems continued, and in January 2017 the Mooradians took
their Jeep to an authorized dealer to repair the Jeep's
heater. The Jeep had 33, 000 miles at the time they took it
to a dealer for repairs. The dealer told the Mooradians that
they found a “sludge-like residue” in the
radiator and oil cooler, which caused their vehicle's
repair this, the dealer replaced the radiator, oil cooler,
and heater core at a cost of $2, 600. Neither of the
Jeep's warranties covered this cost. After some
negotiation, the Mooradians agreed to pay $300 for the
repairs, and Jeep or the dealer covered the remaining $2,
this repair, the dealer did not fix any engine parts,
including the engine's cylinder heads. The Mooradians
have not alleged that their Jeep has had additional issues.
They do, however, “fear that the component parts that
were replaced are being damaged again.”
White purchased a new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from an
authorized dealer in 2013. In June 2015, White's air
conditioning did not emit sufficient air from the Jeep's
White took his Jeep for repair, the dealership solved the
problem by flashing his air conditioning control head. The
same problem arose in July 2016, and the dealer fixed the
problem by replacing the blower motor in Plaintiff
allege that Defendant has breached its express and implied
warranties by refusing to repair the defective cylinder
heads, that Defendant was negligent in producing the cylinder
heads, and that Defendant violated the Ohio Consumer Sales
Practices Act (OCSPA).Plaintiffs seek to certify a class of
all model year 2012-2017 Jeep Wrangler owners in the United
States, as well as a subclass of Wrangler owners in
action may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) if it fails to state a claim upon
which a court can grant relief. To survive a Rule
12(b)(6) dismissal, the complaint “must present
‘enough facts to state claim to relief that is
plausible on its face'” when its factual
allegations are presumed true and reasonable inferences are
made in favor of the non-moving party.
federal pleading requirements do not require detailed factual
allegations, “it is still necessary that the complaint
contain more than bare assertions or legal
conclusions.” The complaint must allege sufficient
facts to give “the defendant fair notice of what the .
. . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests” and
that “raise a right to relief above the speculative
FCA argues that, for a variety of reasons, all of
Plaintiffs' claims must be dismissed. The Court addresses
each claim in turn.
Breach of Express Warranties
for breach of express warranty under Ohio law requires a
plaintiff to establish that: “(1) the item in question
was subject to a warranty; (2) the item did not conform to
the warranty; (3) the seller was given a reasonable
opportunity to cure any defects; and (4) the seller failed to
cure the defects within a reasonable period of time or after
a reasonable number of attempts.”
reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's breach of
express warranty claim for failure to state a claim.
Basic Limited and Powertrain Limited Warranties
allege that FCA breached its express warranties covering
their Jeep Wranglers by failing to repair the defective
cylinder heads. FCA provides two potentially relevant
express warranties, a 3 year/36, 000 mile “Basic
Limited Warranty” and a longer 5 year/100, 000 mile
“Powertrain Limited Warranty.”
Basic Limited Warranty “covers the cost of all parts
and labor needed to repair any item” on the vehicle
except “tires and Unwired [sic]
headphones.” The Powertrain Limited Warranty
“covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to
repair” a limited number of parts, including the
cylinder head assemblies within the engine.
FCA argues that neither warranty covers Plaintiffs'
claims. Defendant argues that none of Plaintiffs'
vehicles required repair within either the time or mileage
limit for the Basic Limited Warranty. Additionally, none of
the repairs to Plaintiffs' vehicles involved any of the
parts expressly enumerated in the Powertrain Limited
these two arguments, FCA misunderstands Plaintiffs'
claims. Plaintiffs claim that the cylinder head, which is
expressly covered by the longer Powertrain Limited Warranty,
is defectively manufactured. The defect in that cylinder head
then is argued to cause numerous other problems with the
vehicle's heating and cooling systems. As such,
Plaintiffs claim that a repair that looks only at the heating
or cooling system problem is akin to putting duct tape over a
broken window; fine for a day, but nothing remotely
resembling an adequate permanent solution.
does not argue that the allegedly defective cylinder head was
not covered by the longer Powertrain Limited Warranty when
they sought repairs, or that the warranty has otherwise
expired. Because Plaintiffs have alleged that Defendant FCA
failed to repair a part covered by the still-in-effect
Powertrain Limited Warranty, these arguments cannot defeat
Plaintiffs' express warranty claim.
Opportunity and Failure to Cure
order to state a claim for breach of warranty, Plaintiffs
must have given Defendant FCA a reasonable opportunity to
cure any defects, and Defendant must have failed to cure
these defects. The Mooradians took their vehicle in for
one repair allegedly related to the manufacturing defect.
White received two such repairs. Apparently, both repairs
worked. The Mooradians and White do not allege similar repair
do not adequately allege that Defendant FCA has had
sufficient opportunity to cure. For both the Mooradians and
for White, the repairs seem to have fixed the problem. The
Mooradians claim that after several months of poor vehicle
heating, their Jeep was fixed in January 2017. They do not
allege any later problems or expense.
regard to Plaintiff White, he alleges off-and-on air
conditioning problems in 2015 and 2016. He then alleges that
in July 2016 and after 64, 151 miles, he needed to replace
the air conditioning blower motor. He does not explain how
the air conditioning blower motor replacement relates to any
sand in the cylinder heads, and he does not allege that
anyone told him that he had sand or sludge in his radiator.
White does not allege any later problems or expenses.
defendant must be given at least two opportunities to cure a
defect. For that reason alone, the
Mooradians' claim plainly fails. They have only received
one repair, and that repair returned their car to working
order for a substantial period of time, if not
White received two repairs related to the alleged defect.
Plaintiff White's claim also fails, as “two repairs
of the same item is not unreasonable pursuant to either a
breach of warranty claim or the Magnuson-Moss
Act.” Additionally, Plaintiff White alleges no
facts suggesting that his air conditioning problems were
actually caused by the manufacturing defect, i.e.
finding a sludge build-up, instead of the problems the dealer
diagnosed and fixed.
this numerical deficiency, Plaintiffs' claim suffers from
a more fundamental issue. No Plaintiff alleges that he took
his vehicle to Defendant or its dealers complaining of the
defective cylinder head and that Defendant refused the
Plaintiffs sought and received repairs for heating and air
conditioning problems. Plaintiffs argue that even though the
repairs they received solved their air conditioning- or
heat-related issues temporarily, Defendant failed to remedy
their claimed underlying sand problem. Although neither
plaintiff alleges any additional problems, they argue issues
vague allegations might sustain a breach of warranty claim in
some scenarios. It cannot sustain this allegation, however,
for three reasons.
the allegedly defective vehicles only required one or two
repairs to return to full working order for a substantial
length of time. Second, and relatedly, no Plaintiff actually
received the same repair more than once. The Mooradians only
ever received one repair, and Plaintiff White had his air
conditioning control head unit flashed once, and his blower
motor replaced once.
Plaintiffs do not allege that their vehicles currently
exhibit any symptoms after their most recent
repair. Indeed, no Plaintiff has a history of
needing repeated repairs to the allegedly affected
such, Plaintiffs have not given Defendant sufficient
opportunity to cure.
Failure of Essential Purpose, Unconscionability, and Pre-Suit
Defendant has not explicitly breached its express warranties,
Plaintiff claims that those warranties have failed their
essential purposes or are unconscionable. For the following
reasons, the Court disagrees.
Failure of the Warranties' Essential Purpose
argue that Defendant FCA's express warranties have failed
their essential purpose because the alleged manufacturing
defect continues to manifest after they have taken their
vehicles in for repairs. Plaintiffs' argument fails.
warranty limits a plaintiff to a repair or replace remedy,
that warranty fails its essential purpose when the warranted
product remains defective even after numerous attempts at
explained above, no Plaintiff complained about the sand in
the cylinder head manufacturing defect. Plaintiffs took their
vehicles in for one or two repairs regarding alleged symptoms
of the manufacturing defect, and Defendant fixed those
Plaintiff alleges that any symptoms of the alleged defect
have recurred since the most recent repair. This minimal
number of potentially successful repairs after several years
of use is a far cry from the vehicles “riddled with
defects” that have caused courts to find the repair and
replace remedy inadequate.
such, neither the Basic Limited nor Powertrain Limited
Warranties has failed its essential purpose. Plaintiffs'
minimal repair history does not suggest a failure of these
warranties' essential purposes. Indeed, any repairs to
parts covered under the Basic Limited Warranty occurred after
the 3 year/36, 000 mile limitation on that warranty,
and Plaintiffs have not sought a repair explicitly under the
Powertrain Limited Warranty.
argue that the time limits on Defendant's warranties are
unconscionable. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant FCA knew
that the manufacturing defect would only become apparent to a
consumer near or after the end of the express warranties, and
Defendant FCA made false or misleading representations to
hide the existence of the defect.
Ohio, “[a] warranty disclaimer that leaves a party with
a defective product and no avenue for recourse against the
manufacturer is unconscionable. However, a warranty in which
the party disclaiming warranties or remedies assumes some
form of responsibility for the performance or maintenance of
the product in issue is not
the two warranties involved with this case provides a
responsibility to repair or replace the covered parts for
years or tens of thousands of miles. Additionally, although
the manufacturing defect may only manifest after the
expiration of the Basic Limited Warranty, each Plaintiff had
years and tens of thousands of ...