Product Liability & Toxics Law News

U.S. High Court Declines Fiat Chrysler Hacking Case

Jan. 7, 2019, 2:45 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Jan. 7 to take a high-stakes cyber-vulnerability case with implications for other consumer class actions.

Fiat Chrysler LLC and infotainment-system supplier Harman International Industries Inc. urged the court to take the case after a district court certified three classes of Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler owners. They alleged they overpaid for vehicles that were subject to takeover through the infotainment system.

Companies facing multimillion-dollar class actions should be able to appeal certification immediately, the companies said.

Federal appeals courts are split on whether “manifest” error is a basis for interlocutory appeal of a class-certification decision, the companies said.

Interlocutory review is sometimes “all that stands between a defendant and a coerced multimillion-dollar settlement,” they said.

Here, the plaintiffs are asking $440 million in damages, they said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit turned down the companies’ appeal of the certification orders. It doesn’t recognize manifest error as a basis for interlocutory review, according to the companies.

The consumers filed their opposition brief under seal Nov. 28, according to the Supreme Court’s online docket.

An attorney for the consumers didn’t respond to a request for the brief or for comment in early December.

Armstrong Teasdale LLP represents the plaintiffs.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Thompson Coburn LLP, and Foley & Lardner LLP represent FCA and Harman.

The case is FCA US LLC v. Flynn, U.S., No. 18-398, review denied 1/7/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina Barash in Washington at mbarash@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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