Kearns v. Ford Motor Company
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
567 F.3d 1120 (2009)
Ford Motor Company (defendant) offered vehicles for sale under a program called Certified Pre-Owned. According to Ford, vehicles in this program were put through a rigorous inspection process in order to certify that the vehicle’s safety, reliability, and road-worthiness surpassed noncertified used vehicles. Vehicles in the Certified Pre-Owned program were sold at a premium relative to ordinary used cars. William Kearns (plaintiff) brought a class-action lawsuit against Ford, alleging that Ford knowingly made false and misleading statements about the safety and reliability of its Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. Kearns alleged that this conduct occurred with an intent to induce reliance and defraud consumers. Kearns’s action was brought under state law. Kearns argued that his claims should not be subject to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b)’s requirement that allegations of fraud be pleaded with particularity. Kearns’s argument rested on three grounds: (1) state law precedent was contrary to Rule 9(b), (2) some of his claims were not based in fraud, and (3) the complaint should have been evaluated under state law. The trial court dismissed the case. Kearns appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)
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