Ninth Circuit holds consumers cannot bring national class actions alleging violations of California State Law

Posted on: February 10th, 2012 by Steve Larson

In a setback for consumers seeking to bring false-advertising class actions under California law, the Ninth Circuit has issued its long-awaited ruling in Mazza v. American Honda, No. 09-55376 (Jan. 12, 2012).  The 2–1 decision, authored by Judge Ronald M. Gould, vacated a district court’s order that had certified a nationwide class of consumers suing Honda for false advertising under California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumers Legal Remedies Act. Although the appeal was argued on June 9, 2010, the Ninth Circuit stayed its decision pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes.  The Mazza opinion comes nearly seven months after the Supreme Court rejected certification of a class of 1.5 million employees in its June 2011 Wal-Mart decision.

Mazza concerns Honda’s alleged failure to disclose serious and material limitations of its Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), an optional feature offered on certain Honda Acura models.  The Ninth Circuit ruled that some of the state laws of the various states were inconsistent with California law.