United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
Brian Baar brings this class action against Jaguar Land Rover
North America, LLC (“JLRNA”) and Jaguar Land
Rover Limited (“JLRL”) (collectively
“Defendants”), alleging violations of the Sherman
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, various state antitrust and consumer
protection laws and unjust enrichment, in connection with the
imposition of Defendants' no-export policy at the point
of sale of Defendants' products. This matter comes before
the Court on Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). There was no oral
argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth
below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is
GRANTED and Plaintiff's claims are
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
is a California resident who purchased one of Defendants'
products, a 2015 Range Rover, from a dealership in Carlsbad,
California on April 1, 2015. First Am. Compl.
(“Compl.”) ¶ 25, ECF No. 25. JLRNA is a
Delaware company with its principal place of business in
Mahwah, New Jersey. Id. ¶ 26. JLRL is the
parent company of JLRNA and is incorporated under the laws of
England and Wales, with its principal place of business in
the United Kingdom. Id. ¶¶ 26-27. JLRL
designs, develops and manufactures luxury cars and sport
utility vehicles (“SUVs”), which it sells in the
United States through JLRNA. JLRL also sells its products all
over the world. Id. This dispute centers on a
significant price differential of Defendants' products in
foreign countries such as China. The following facts alleged
in the Complaint are not in dispute.
demand for luxury vehicles in certain foreign countries
commands a sale price of Defendants' products three or
four times greater than the price in the United States.
Id. ¶ 2. “[T]his price differential
creates an arbitrage opportunity for Purchasers of JLR
Vehicles in the United States who wish to have the ability to
export them to foreign markets for resale at higher resale
prices than in the United States.” Id. ¶
3. To protect their profit margins in these foreign markets,
Defendants implemented a “No-Export Policy” (the
“Policy”) in April 2013. Id. The Policy
requires that a purchaser agree to the following at the time
of sale: “(i) [he or she has] no intention of exporting
the JLR Vehicle outside the United States for up to one year
from the date of delivery; (ii) if the JLR Vehicle is
exported (even by subsequent purchasers), the Purchaser is
subject to liquidated damages ranging from $25, 000 to $40,
000, losses and expenses; and (iii) the warranty will be
voided if the JLR Vehicle is exported.” Id.
required Plaintiff to sign “the No-Export
Agreement” (the “Agreement”) when he
purchased his Range Rover. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff
maintains that he “would have freely re-sold
[sic] the JLR Vehicle for export within one year of
delivery absent the No-Export Agreement.” Id.
Plaintiff alleges that the Agreement is non-negotiable and
that every purchaser must sign it “at the end of the
transaction process, after agreeing upon all financial terms
of the transaction.” Id. ¶ 46. Plaintiff
also alleges that Defendants require their United States
dealers to undertake certain actions of due diligence to
enforce the Policy. Such actions include searching the
vehicle purchase history of prospective purchasers,
validating their addresses, searching for publicly available
information on the internet, and determining the source of
funds used to make the purchases. Id. ¶ 38.
alleges a conspiracy among Defendants, their dealers, and a
third-party consulting company to violate the Sherman Act and
unreasonably restrain trade through the enforcement of the
Policy. See id. ¶¶ 48-58. Plaintiff
claims, and Defendants do not deny, that the purpose and
effect of the Policy “is to prevent Purchasers from
taking advantage of an arbitrage opportunity that exists in
foreign countries, such as China, to obtain and maintain
higher profits abroad.” Id. ¶ 59.
Plaintiff submits that the relevant market affected by the
Policy “is the market for exporting JLR Vehicles for
resale.” Id. ¶ 87. Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint asserts five causes of action:
(1) Count 1: declaratory relief under 15 U.S.C. § 1, id.
(2) Count 2: injunctive relief under 15 U.S.C. § 1, id.
(3) Count 3: violation of 24 state antitrust laws, id.
(4) Count 4: violation of 26 state consumer protection laws,
id. ¶¶ 138-47; and
(5) Count 5: unjust enrichment under 48 States' common
law, id. ¶¶ 148-50.
now move for dismissal of all claims. Defendants first argue
that Plaintiff has failed to allege any concerted action to
restrain trade between Defendants and other independent
entities. See Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to
Dismiss (“Defs.' Mem.”) 9-14, ECF No. 30.
Defendants next argue Plaintiff's claims fail under a
rule of reason analysis because Plaintiff fails to identify a
cognizable relevant market and does not allege an antitrust
injury incurred in the United States. See id. at
15-29. Defendants also argue that Plaintiff lacks standing to
pursue all state law claims other than his California claims
and that his California antitrust claims fail for the same
reasons as his federal antitrust claims. See id. at
29-31. Defendants further argue that Plaintiff's claim
under the California Unfair Competition Law
(“UCL”) fails because he failed to allege
fraudulent, unlawful or unfair conduct. See id. at
31-35. Finally, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's unjust
enrichment claim fails because this Court previously
determined that California does not recognize such claims.
See id. 35-36.
counters, arguing first that the Court should reject
Defendants' arguments on the merits because such
arguments require the development of a factual record and are
inappropriate at the dismissal phase of litigation.
See Pl.'s Mem. of Law in Opp'n to Defs.'
Mot. (“Pl.'s Opp'n) 8-10, ECF No. 31. Plaintiff
next submits that he properly pleaded the existence of
concerted action between Defendants, their dealers and the
consulting company, as required by the Sherman Act. See
id. at 11-16. Plaintiff contends that the Policy
unreasonably restrains trade under both the per se
and rule of reason analyses. Plaintiff argues that the Policy
“reduces output by restraining U.S. sales of JLR
Vehicles” and the relevant market is “the U.S.
market for exporting JLR Vehicles for resale, ” in
which Defendants “have market power.” See
id. at 17-26. Plaintiff submits that he properly alleged
an antitrust injury through the restriction of
Plaintiff's ability to export Defendants' products
for resale. See id. at 26-28. Plaintiff further
submits that a determination as to his standing to bring
non-California based state law claims should be deferred
until class certification. See id. 31-32. Finally,
Plaintiff contends that he plausibly ...