In re OnStar Contract Litigation
An Analysis Group team was retained by counsel for American Honda Motor Company, Subaru of America, Volkswagen of America and OnStar Corporation to provide expert analysis and testimony related to certification of a nationwide class of buyers and lessees of automobiles equipped with OnStar telecommunications equipment. At issue was the analog-only equipment used in certain OnStar safety systems. Asserting consumer protection act and warranty claims, the putative class alleged that the defendants failed to inform consumers and continued to sell the analog-only systems while knowing that their equipment would eventually stop working because of impending changes in federal regulation.
The team, led by Managing Principal Bruce Strombom, and including Manager Eric Nguyen and Affiliate Stanley Ornstein, assessed whether common proof existed that all members of the putative class were harmed and whether damages could be determined on a class-wide basis. Variation across class members in disclosures received, prices paid, use of the OnStar system, depreciation of the equipment and other factors made determination of damages on a class-wide basis impossible. In December 2011, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the defendants, and rejected four class certification motions against OnStar and the automobile companies. In its order denying class certification, the court concluded that common issues did not predominate over individualized issues and therefore Rule 23(b)’s predominance requirement was not met.