United States District Court, D. Connecticut
GLEN GRAYSON DOREEN MAZZANTI, DANIEL LEVY, DAVID MEQUET, and LAUREN HARRIS, individually and on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION FOR CLASS
CERTIFICATION AND APPOINTMENT OF CLASS COUNSEL
W. Eginton Senior U.S. District Judge
Glen Grayson, Doreen Mazzanti, Daniel Levy, David Mequet and
Lauren Harris, individually and on behalf of themselves, have
asserted this putative class action against defendant General
Electric Company (“GE”). Plaintiffs claim that
defendant's GE-branded microwave oven model JEB1090,
JEB1095, ZMC1090, and ZMC1095 contained a defect that caused
the oven door glass to shatter.
has filed a motion for class certification and appointment of
class counsel. In their opening brief, plaintiffs requested
certification of the several classes of residents who
purchased GE-branded microwave oven model number JEB1090,
JEB1095, ZMC1090, and/or ZMC1095 for primarily personal,
family, or household purposes, and not for resale. Plaintiffs
allege (1) breach of express warranty on behalf of a
nationwide and state subclasses; (2) implied warranty of
merchantability on behalf of a nationwide and Texas
subclasses; (3) violation of the Song Beverly Act on behalf
of a California subclass; (4) violation of the Magnuson-Moss
Warranty Act on behalf of a nationwide class;(4) violation of
state consumer protection laws on behalf of state subclasses
and a Consumer Protection Law subclass; and (6) unjust
enrichment on the behalf of nationwide and state subclasses.
their Reply brief, plaintiffs have indicated that they seek
(1) a nationwide injunctive and declaratory judgment class
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
(“Rule”) 23(b)(2) that would require defendant to
notify class members of the glass-shattering defect and
effectively extend the warranty on the microwave; (2) a
multi-state Consumer Protection Law Subclass,  or alternatively,
individual state consumer protection law classes for
California, Florida, New York and Ohio pursuant to Rule
23(b)(3); and (3) a Texas Implied Warranty Subclass
comprising purchasers of 1090/1095 microwaves pursuant to
Court will deny without prejudice the motion for
certification under Rule 23(b)(2) as to a nationwide
injunctive and declaratory judgment class, and under Rule
23(b)(3) as to a damages Consumer Protection Law subclass and
Texas Implied Warranty subclass; the Court will grant the
motion for certification under Rule 23(c)(4)
as to a
liability Consumer Protection Law Subclass and Texas Implied
Warranty Subclass. The Court will also grant the motion for
appointment of counsel.
following background to plaintiffs' claims is reflected
in the allegations of the amended complaint and the
parties' briefs relevant to class certification and
have alleged that GE-branded microwave oven models JEB1095,
ZMC1090 and ZMC1095 contain defects that render them
unreasonably dangerous and unsuitable for their intended use
due to the occurrences of glass oven doors shattering. GE has
allegedly expressly warranted through its user manuals,
advertisements, pamphlets, brochures, circulars, samples and
models that these models were fit for the ordinary purpose
for which such goods are used.
allegedly known, or reasonably should have known, that the
models were defective when it first received reports that its
models contained defects that have caused the glass on the
oven door to shatter. The plaintiffs allege that GE sent out
service bulletins to its technicians alerting them to the
problem, but the bulletins were only available to service
professionals. Plaintiffs allege that GE did not issue a
recall, warn consumers, or take any affirmative steps to
correct the problem.
expert, Thomas Read, asserts that every 1090/1095 microwave
that he inspected shared the same defect. He maintains that
the defect is endemic to the 1090/1095 microwaves. Plaintiffs
claim that their evidence will show that the 1090/1095
microwaves are all part of the same model family and share a
common design, including the defect that causes the glass
doors to shatter.
maintain that the glass shattering defect poses a safety
argues that plaintiffs' proposed class comprising
purchasers or owners of 1090/1095 microwave ovens includes
members who have experienced no glass shattering and,
therefore, lack standing to sue. Specifically, defendant
asserts that putative class members have no standing to sue
for relief based on a product that has not experienced the
alleged defect and is beyond its expected useful life.
satisfy Article III standing, “a plaintiff must
demonstrate (1) a personal injury in fact (2) that the
challenged conduct of the defendant caused and (3) which a
favorable decision will likely redress.” Mahon v.
Ticor Title Ins. Co., 683 F.3d 59, 62 (2d Cir. 2012);
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61
(1992). Past injuries may provide a basis for standing to
seek money damages, and an “enhanced risk” of
future injury may constitute injury-in-fact for purposes of
seeking injunctive relief. Relevant to a class action,
Article III standing requires that “for every named
defendant there must be at least one named plaintiff who can
assert a claim directly against that defendant.”
Cent. States Se. & Sw. Areas Health & Welfare Fund v.
Merck-Medco Managed Care, L.L.C., 504 F.3d 229, 241 (2d
Cir. 2007); NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund v. Goldman
Sachs & Co., 693 F.3d 145, 159 (2d Cir. 2012). Thus, the
Court's inquiry for determining Article III standing
focuses upon the named plaintiffs. Catalano v. BMW of N.
Am., LLC, 167 F.Supp.3d 540, 553 (S.D.N.Y. 2016).
plaintiffs have alleged the injury of owning a dangerous
product defect that could potentially cause a physical injury
and that has required or will require replacement and/or
repair to the product. The Court finds that the plaintiffs
have standing to assert this class action.
seek certification under Rule 23(b)(2) for an injunctive and
declaratory judgment class; under Rule 23(b)(3) for a damages
Consumer Protection Law subclass and Texas Implied Warranty
subclass; or alternatively, under Rule 23(c)(4) for a
liability Consumer Protection Law subclass and Texas Implied
receive class certification, plaintiffs must first satisfy
the four elements of Rule 23(a): (1) Numerosity, (2)
commonality, (3) typicality, and (4) the adequacy of
representation. Plaintiffs must then meet at least one of the
three subsections of Rule 23(b). McLaughlin v. American
Tobacco Co., 522 F.3d 215, 222 (2d Cir. 2008).
burden of proving compliance with all of the requirements of
Rule 23 rests with the party moving for certification.”
Levitt v. J.P. Morgan Sec., Inc., 710 F.3d 454, 465
(2d Cir. 2013). The merits of a claim may be considered to
the extent relevant to the Rule 23 Inquiry. Amgen v.
Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, 133 S.Ct.
1184, 1195 (2013). The party seeking class certification must
satisfy the requirements of Rule 23 by a preponderance of the
evidence. Novella v. Westchester Cnty, 661 F.3d 128,
148-49 (2d Cir. 2011).
under Rule 23(b)(2) may not be certified where the monetary
component is “more than merely incidental to the
injunctive relief.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541, 2557 (2011); Jermyn v. Best
Buy Store, L.P., 276 F.R.D. 167, 173 (S.D.N.Y. 2011).
Where a plaintiff seeks both declaratory and monetary relief,
the court may separately certify a damages-seeking class
under Rule 23(b)(3), and an injunction-seeking class under
Rule 23(b)(2), if all of the requirements have been met.
Stinson v. City of New York, 282 F.R.D. 360, 381
may also certify a class with respect to a particular issue
under Rule 23(c)(4) where certification will materially
advance disposition of the litigation. Benner v. Becton
Dickinson & Co., 214 F.R.D. 157, 169 (S.D.N.Y. 2003).
For a particular issue to be certified pursuant to Rule
23(c)(4), the requirements of Rules 23(a) and (b) must be
satisfied only ...