3d DCA Watch — The Miracles of Design

Hi folks let’s dive in right in to that mythical land where your brakes have to fail completely before you can recover for a design defect, and even then it’s not at all certain, yes, 3d DCA watch:

Butler v. Kia:

Here, Judge Shepherd reverses a certified class of 1999-2001 Kia Sephia owners who sued because the Sephia allegedly had a design defect which caused the brakes to fail prematurely. The Judge finds no common questions of fact, reasoning:

Kia points out that there is no absolute design for automobile front brakes. According to Kia, brake design requires a balancing of design goals which are not consistent, including braking stability, brake response time, reliability, appropriate cost for the price of the vehicle, maintainability, rate of wear, noise, and corrosion resistance. Quality and performance tradeoffs, therefore, necessarily occur; the final judge being the marketplace, according to Kia.

Whatever the merits of Kia’s “no defect” argument, it cannot be disputed that the component and design changes described above resulted in significant differences in the performance of the Kia Sephia’s front brakes over the three model years at issue here. It is therefore scientifically and logically impossible to conclude that any performance issues for these three model years were the result of a common design. It follows that even if there existed a difference between the price paid for each vehicle and the value of the vehicle as delivered for any design period, that difference cannot be proven on a class-wide basis.

Yeah, maybe Kia engineers design each brake system from scratch for each Sephia sold! And those crazy designers use different parts each time! That would be efficient when you are selling thousands of cars worth about $15k.The Court is also apparently mystified at the byzantine, highly complicated process by which a car brake system is manufactured:

The disc braking process in an automobile—the process involved here—is a complicated mechanical and hydraulically assisted process, wherein force applied to a brake pedal is enhanced and quickly transferred to brake pads surrounding a rotating “rotor” in the wheel well of the vehicle, squeezing the rotor and, in turn, slowing and stopping the tire and wheel.

Wow, I bet NASA can get a man on Mars before another crappy yet highly complex Kia brake system miraculously hits the road. Didn’t the Model T have a braking system?The Court concludes with this:

In complex cases such as this, where no one set of operative facts establishes liability, where no single proximate cause applies to each defendant, and where individual issues outnumber common issues, trial courts should be hesitant to certify class actions.

Can you believe the Court thinks the marketplace of attorneys are running to sign up individual Kia owners to take up a “complex case” against a large vehicle manufacture for minimal damages? You’d have to be former counsel to the Richard Scaife-funded Pacific Legal Foundation to find that prospect appealing.