In September 2017, Plaintiffs filed a putative class action in the Eastern District of California against Electrolux, alleging defects in a self-cleaning oven made by Electrolux. Plaintiffs alleged that Electrolux knew about the defect but intentionally misrepresented the functionality of the self-cleaning feature and concealed from consumers that the oven contained a defective thermostat, making the self-cleaning feature inoperable. Plaintiffs' complaint stated claims under the California Legal Remedies Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law, and California’s False Advertising Law.
Plaintiffs alleged that the functionality of the self-cleaning feature was one of the bases for their decision to purchase the oven, and therefore they sufficiently alleged the materiality of the alleged misrepresentations about the feature’s abilities and basic operability. However, the Court held that there must still be an allegation Plaintiffs were actually exposed to the alleged misrepresentation, and they must do so with specificity. "While Plaintiffs allege they researched various ovens online and in the store prior to their purchase... they do not allege with any specificity they were exposed to any of the identified advertising and product misrepresentations about the functionality of the self-cleaning feature."
Further, the Court found, "[a]lthough Plaintiffs allege they would have behaved differently had the thermostat defect been disclosed (they would not have purchased the oven or would not have paid as much as they did), they have not shown that if the omitted information had been disclosed, they would have been aware of it."
Accordingly, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs' CLRA, UCL and FLA claims.
The singular allegation that plaintiffs researched various ovens online prior to purchase, absent any allegation they reviewed product materials that included the identified alleged misrepresentations about the functionality of the self-cleaning oven, is insufficient to plead actual reliance under the heightened pleading requirement of Rule 9(b)