Paul B. Butler v. Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
A US district judge denied class certification in a putative class action against Analysis Group client Porsche Cars North America (PCNA), citing the expert report of Analysis Group Senior Advisor Bruce Strombom as supporting evidence in her decision. In the matter, plaintiff Paul Butler alleged that PCNA had violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and California's Unfair Competition Law by failing to disclose to consumers its awareness of a defective design in one of its cars, and failing to take sufficient corrective action. The defect related to the wiring harness – which enables the alternator to recharge the car's battery – for all Porsche 911 vehicles manufactured for the model years 2005–2008.
Dr. Strombom was retained as an expert by Lee, Hong, Degerman, Kang & Waimey on behalf of PCNA, supported by a case team that included Managing Principal Mark Gustafson and Vice President Nathan Trujillo. In his expert report, Dr. Strombom critiqued the opinions and damages model presented by the opposing expert and found the expert's damages model to be inherently flawed, because it did not conform to the plaintiff's legal theory of liability. For example, the damages model included many members of the purported class that could not have been harmed by the defect, because they had purchased a used car in which the defect had already been repaired.
Judge Lucy H. Koh of the US District Court for the Northern District of California denied Butler's motion for class certification, finding that the plaintiff had failed to satisfy the predominance element of Rule 23 (demonstrating that common issues about the defect predominate over individualized inquiries). In her order, Judge Koh cited Dr. Strombom's report as supporting evidence that individual inquiries would be required to determine which class members actually purchased a vehicle with a faulty wiring harness.