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Gordon v. Mazda Motor Corporation

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 13, 2014

THOMAS GORDON, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
MAZDA MOTOR CORPORATION and MAZDA NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS, Defendants.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on a motion by Defendant Mazda Motor of America, Inc. d/b/a Mazda North American Operations ("Defendant") to dismiss the complaint of Plaintiff Thomas Gordon ("Plaintiff") for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The complaint is a putative class action alleging a violation of New Jersey's Truth in Contract Consumer Warranty and Notice Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1, et seq. ("TCCWNA"). For the reasons expressed below, the Court will grant the motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that in October, 2008, he purchased a 2008 Mazda CX-9 from a Mazda dealership in Turnersville, New Jersey. Compl. ΒΆΒΆ 1, 12-13. Defendant, through the dealer, provided Plaintiff with the following notice at the time of the purchase:

"IMPORTANT: If this vehicle is defective, you may be entitled under New Jersey law to a refund of the purchase price or your lease payments. For complete information regarding your rights and remedies under the relevant law, please contact the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Lemon Law Unit, at 1100 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, New Jersey, 07102, telephone number: (973) 504-6226."
In order to seek these remedies, you must first give written notice to MAZDA, by certified mail, of the nonconforming condition, at the following address and provide MAZDA with a final opportunity to repair it.

Compl. Ex. A.

Such notice is required by New Jersey's Lemon Law, which states:

At the time of purchase in the State of New Jersey, the manufacturer... shall provide directly to the consumer a written statement prescribed by the [Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs], presented in a conspicuous and understandable manner on a separate piece of paper and printed in both the English and Spanish languages, which provides information concerning a consumer's rights and remedies under [the Lemon Law], and shall include, but not be limited to, a summary of the provisions of... (1) [N.J.S.A.] 56:12-31....

N.J.S.A. 56:12-34(a).

N.J.S.A. 56:12-31, in turn provides, in relevant part, If a consumer reports a nonconformity in a motor vehicle to the manufacturer... during the first 24, 000 miles of operation or during the period of two years following the date of original delivery to the consumer, whichever is earlier, the manufacturer... shall make, or arrange with its dealer or distributor to make, within a reasonable time, all repairs necessary to correct the nonconformity.

N.J.S.A. 56:12-31.

The complaint does not allege any defects related to Plaintiff's Mazda CX-9. Nor does it allege that he read or relied upon the notice provided to him at the time of his vehicle purchase.

More than four-and-a-half years after Gordon received the notice, he filed this lawsuit, alleging that the notice violates the TCCNWA. He alleges that the notice misstates the New Jersey Lemon Law because it states that the consumer must give "written notice" to Mazda "by certified mail, " of the problem with the car. For this asserted violation, Plaintiff seeks ...


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