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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Judge denies motion to dismiss Cosco car seat class action

By Richard Jones | Jul 12, 2017

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – Judge James Otero of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has denied a motion from a child seat manufacturer that requested he dismiss a class action lawsuit brought against the company.

In his June 13 order, Otero denied the assertions of defendant Dorel Juvenile Group, a maker of Cosco-branded child car seats sold at Target, that federal law already provides a remedy to address the plaintiff’s claims.

In January, Arriane Henryhand filed suit on behalf of herself and other similarly situated consumers against Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. She alleged that she was a victim of deceptive practices when she purchased a Cosco-branded convertible car seat that she alleged doesn’t have the functions as described by its labeling.

In her lawsuit, Henryhand alleges Dorel mislabeled its Cosco Apt 40 and 50 car seats as rear-facing models appropriate for children between 5 to 40 pounds, and/or 19 to 40 inches in height. She claims that because of Dorel’s failure to list the accurate actual height and weight specifications of the car seats, the car seats don’t actually fit children who are of the advertised height and weight.

Dorel responded with a motion to dismiss all six claims in the complaint, arguing, among other defects, that the plaintiff's claims were preempted by federal law governing motor vehicle safety and that many of the claims presented were inadequately pleaded.

In the opinion, Otero disputed the preemption defense stating: “The court determines that the Safety Act and regulations promulgated thereunder neither expressly nor impliedly preempt plaintiff's claims.

"The court need not resolve whether the issue presented is better raised at the motion to dismiss or class certification stage, let alone whether plaintiff's allegations of substantial similarity between the car seats and/or their representations are sufficient to confer standing on plaintiff over all the claims in the FAC.” 

As to the improper pleading claims, Otero granted the plaintiff leave to amend the complaint to satisfy the standing requirements set forth by federal law.

Otero gave Henryhand 10 days to file an amended complaint while providing Dorel 10 days to respond after the amended complaint is filed.

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U.S. District Court for the Central District of California