This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/16/2022 at 23:02:41 (UTC).

GEORGE WILLIAMS VS KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Case Summary

On 07/14/2021 GEORGE WILLIAMS filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MALCOLM MACKEY and TIMOTHY PATRICK DILLON. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5834

  • Filing Date:

    07/14/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MALCOLM MACKEY

TIMOTHY PATRICK DILLON

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

WILLIAMS GEORGE

WILLAIMS GEORGE

Defendant

KIA MOTORS AMERICA INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

MIKHOV STEVE BORISLAV

MORSE AMY-LYN

Defendant Attorney

KOOPERSMITH SAMANTHA MICHELLE

 

Court Documents

Answer

12/6/2021: Answer

Case Management Order

10/22/2021: Case Management Order

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE CESAR RODRIGUEZ, CSR#13269

10/22/2021: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE CESAR RODRIGUEZ, CSR#13269

Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

11/1/2021: Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITH MOTION TO STRIKE (CCP 430.10) (RES...)

10/22/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITH MOTION TO STRIKE (CCP 430.10) (RES...)

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

10/4/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Case Management Statement

10/4/2021: Case Management Statement

Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC.S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

10/8/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC.S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC.S MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

10/8/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC.S MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

Reply - REPLY REPLY MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

10/15/2021: Reply - REPLY REPLY MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

Reply - REPLY REPLY MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S DEMURRER TO THE FOURTH AND FIFTH CAUSES OF ACTION TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

10/15/2021: Reply - REPLY REPLY MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S DEMURRER TO THE FOURTH AND FIFTH CAUSES OF ACTION TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

Case Management Statement

10/18/2021: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement - CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT AMENDED

10/18/2021: Case Management Statement - CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT AMENDED

Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

8/16/2021: Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

8/16/2021: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S AMENDED NOTICE OF DEMURRER TO THE FOURTH AND FIFTH CAUSES OF ACTION OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

8/17/2021: Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S AMENDED NOTICE OF DEMURRER TO THE FOURTH AND FIFTH CAUSES OF ACTION OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S AMENDED NOTICE OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

8/17/2021: Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT KIA AMERICA, INC.S AMENDED NOTICE OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

Notice - NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

8/20/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

16 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/19/2022
  • Hearing09/19/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 73 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 09/06/2022
  • Hearing09/06/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 73 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 12/06/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Kia Motors America, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 11/02/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 73, Timothy Patrick Dillon, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Advanced and Heard

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  • 11/01/2021
  • DocketAmended Complaint ( (1st)); Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/22/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 73, Timothy Patrick Dillon, Presiding; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) ((Res ID 8497)) - Held

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  • 10/22/2021
  • DocketCase Management Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/22/2021
  • DocketOrder Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore (Cesar Rodriguez, CSR#13269); Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/22/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) (Res...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/18/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement (Amended); Filed by Kia Motors America, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant)

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13 More Docket Entries
  • 07/19/2021
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/16/2021
  • Docketat 09:33 AM in Department 55, Malcolm Mackey, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 07/16/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((COURT ORDER RE: PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE FILED BY PLAINTIFF AGAIN...) of 07/16/2021); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/16/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (COURT ORDER RE: PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE FILED BY PLAINTIFF AGAIN...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/15/2021
  • DocketChallenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6); Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/14/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/14/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/14/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/14/2021
  • DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/14/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by George Willaims (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

b"

Case Number: 21STCV25834 Hearing Date: October 22, 2021 Dept: 73

GEORGE WILLIAMS v. KIA MOTORS\r\nAMERICA, INC.

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Counsel\r\nfor Plaintiff/opposing party: Steve\r\nMikhov, Andrew Jang (Knight Law Group, LLP)

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Counsel\r\nfor Defendants/moving parties: Kate Lehrman, Benson Douglas, Samantha\r\nKoopersmith (Lehrman, Villegas, Chinery & Douglas, LLP)

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Demurrer/MOTION TO STRIKE RE complaint (both filed 8/16/2021)

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TENTATIVE\r\nRULING

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The\r\ndemurrer is sustained with leave to amend. \r\nThe motion to strike is moot.

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Discussion

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This is a lemon law case. On July 14, 2021, Plaintiff George Williams\r\nfiled this action against Defendant Kia Motors America, Inc. (“Kia”), alleging\r\ncauses of action for:

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C/A\r\n1: Breach of Express Warranty – Violation of Song-Beverly Act

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C/A\r\n2: Breach of Implied Warranty – Violation of Song-Beverly Act

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C/A\r\n3: Fraudulent Inducement – Concealment

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C/A\r\n4: Fraudulent Inducement – Intentional Misrepresentation

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On August 16,\r\n2021, Defendant filed a demurrer to the third and fourth causes of action and a\r\nmotion to strike allegations relating to the third and fourth causes of action\r\nand punitive damages. Defendant argues\r\nthat these causes of action are not pled with sufficient specificity, that\r\nPlaintiff has not sufficiently alleged the relationship between Hyundai Motor\r\nCompany (“Hyundai”) and Kia, and that the economic loss rule bars these\r\nclaims. On October 8, 2021, Plaintiff\r\nfiled oppositions. On October 15, 2021,\r\nDefendant filed replies.

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ANALYSIS

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I. \r\nLegal Standard for Demurrer

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A demurrer tests the sufficiency of whether the complaint\r\nstates a cause of action. (Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th\r\n740, 747.) When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations\r\nliberally and in contest--any defects must be apparent on the face of the\r\npleading or via proper judicial notice. (Donabedian v. Mercury\r\nIns. Co. (2004) 116 Cal.App.4th 968, 994.) A demurrer tests\r\nthe pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. (SKF\r\nFarms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal. App. 3d 902, 905.) \r\nTherefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or\r\nare judicially noticed. (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 430.30, 430.70.) \r\nThe only issue a demurrer is concerned with is whether the complaint, as it\r\nstands, states a cause of action. (Hahn, supra, 147\r\nCal.App.4th at 747.)

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II. \r\nThird Cause of Action for Fraudulent Concealment and Fourth Cause\r\nof Action for Intentional Misrepresentation

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The elements of fraud are: “(a) misrepresentation, false\r\nrepresentation, concealment, or nondisclosure; (b) knowledge of falsity (or\r\n‘scienter’); (c) intent to defraud, i.e., to induce reliance; (d) justifiable\r\nreliance; and (e) resulting damage.” (Charnay v. Cobert (2006)\r\n145 Cal.App.4th 170, 184.)

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Defendant argues that Plaintiff cannot state a cause of action for\r\nfraudulent concealment because: (1) Plaintiff has not alleged these elements\r\nwith sufficient specificity and (2) Plaintiff’s fraud claim is barred by the\r\neconomic loss rule.

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1. \r\nPleading with Specificity

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In\r\nCalifornia, fraud generally must be pleaded with specificity. (Small\r\nv. Fritz Companies, Inc. (2003) 30 Cal.4th 167, 184.) “The\r\nparticularity demands that a plaintiff plead facts which show how, when,\r\nwhere, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.” (Cansino\r\nv. Bank of America (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 1462, 1469.) As one court explained, “this statement of the rule reveals that it\r\nis intended to apply to affirmative misrepresentations.” (Alfaro (2009) 171 Cal. App. 4th at 1384.) One of the\r\npurposes of the specificity requirement is “notice to the defendant, to\r\n‘furnish the defendant with certain definite charges which can be intelligently\r\nmet.” (Id.) Less\r\nspecificity should be required of fraud claims “when ‘it appears from the\r\nnature of the allegations that the defendant must necessarily possess full\r\ninformation concerning the facts of the controversy.” (Id.) \r\nParticularly when pleading fraud by omission, the specificity\r\nrequirement should be more relaxed: “How does one show ‘how’ and ‘by\r\nwhat means' something didn't happen, or ‘when’ it never happened, or\r\n‘where’ it never happened?” (Id.;\r\nsee also Alfaro, supra,\r\n171 Cal.App.4th 1356, 1384 [stating rule of specifically pleading how, when,\r\nwhere, to whom, and by what means, misrepresentations were communicated, is\r\nintended to apply to affirmative misrepresentations, and not to concealment]; Jones v. ConocoPhillips (2011) 198\r\nCal.App.4th 1187, 1200 [concealment is sufficiently pled when the complaint as\r\na whole provides sufficient notice of the particular claims against\r\ndefendants].) ““[A] manufacturer of a\r\nproduct may be liable for fraud when it conceals material product information\r\nfrom potential users. This is true whether the product is a mechanical heart\r\nvalve or frozen yogurt.” (Khan v. Shiley, Inc. (1990) 217 Cal.App.3d\r\n848, 858.)

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Further, the requirement of specificity is\r\nrelaxed when the allegations indicate that ‘the defendant must necessarily\r\npossess full information concerning the facts of the controversy.’ ” (Tarmann\r\nv. State Farm (1991) 2 Cal.App.4th 153, 158.) To prevail on a fraudulent concealment theory\r\nagainst a manufacturer, a Plaintiff must establish that the defendant knew of\r\nthe alleged defect before the sale or lease of the vehicle, and that Defendant\r\nwas unable or unwilling to fix it. (Santana v FCA (2020) 56 Cal.App.5th\r\n334, 345 (“Santana”.)

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2. \r\nFraudulent Concealment

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Contrary to Defendant’s argument, therefore, the\r\npleading requirements for fraudulent concealment are not as heightened as\r\naffirmative fraud and are more relaxed. \r\nHowever, even with a more relaxed standard, the court finds that\r\nPlaintiff has not sufficiently plead fraudulent concealment. The court finds that Plaintiff’s allegations\r\nare vague, uncertain, and ambiguous.

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First, Plaintiff conflates multiple engines and engine\r\ndefects. Plaintiff alleges defects in\r\nPlaintiff’s own engine and then alleges defects related to the “Theta II,” “Gamma,”\r\n“Nu,” and “Lambda II” line of Gasoline Direct Injection (“GDI”) engines in\r\nvarious makes of vehicles. Plaintiff\r\nalleges that these various types of GDI engines appear in not only Plaintiff’s make\r\nof vehicle, but also in Sonata and Santa Fe vehicles manufactured by another\r\nmanufacturer (Hyundai) as well as Kia’s Optima, Sportage, and Sorento\r\nvehicles. After doing so, Plaintiff then\r\ngenerally makes allegations regarding defects to the “GDI engine,” i.e.,\r\nconflating all types of engines (Theta II, Gamma, Nu, and Lambda III) into one. However, Plaintiff does not specify which\r\ntype of GDI engine Plaintiff is referring to, what manufacturer Plaintiff is\r\nreferring to, or which type of vehicle Plaintiff is referring to. By conflating all GDI engines between two\r\nmanufacturers that allegedly appeared in at least six different types of\r\nvehicles, Plaintiff’s allegations are unclear and raises various questions. What specific type of engine does Plaintiff\r\nhave? What specific defects does Plaintiff’s engine suffer (not general\r\ndefects related to an engine type)? What\r\nare the allegations relating to Kia’s knowledge of that specific type of engine\r\nonly? When did Kia first know about the\r\ndefect in this specific engine for an Optima? \r\nHow are those defects/recalls related to the specific defect that\r\nPlaintiff alleges his vehicle suffers from?

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Further, Plaintiff’s allegations of Kia’s knowledge\r\nare unclear. In some allegations,\r\nPlaintiff alleges that Kia is a corporate subsidiary of Hyundai, but does not\r\nallege when this occurred. Further,\r\nPlaintiff alleges that Kia became Hyundai’s largest shareholder in December 31,\r\n2017. Plaintiff then alleges that Kia\r\nknew about these defect in at least 2015—before Kia became the largest\r\nshareholder in Hyundai. (Complaint, ¶\r\n26.) Plaintiff alleges that in 2015\r\nHyundai, not Kia, issued a recall of certain GDI engines. Further, Plaintiff alleges that Hyundai\r\nissued another recall in March 2017—again before Kia became the largest\r\nshareholder in Hyundai. Plaintiff then\r\nalleges direct knowledge by Kia by a May 2017 recall. These allegations are\r\nunclear in explaining why Kia should be imputed with Hyundai’s knowledge in\r\n2015 and March 2017. How would Kia have\r\nknown in 2015? What was Kia’s knowledge\r\nand relationship with Hyundai in 2015? \r\nPlaintiff’s conflating imputed knowledge and direct knowledge onto Kia and\r\ndifferent time periods is confusing.

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3. \r\nIntentional Misrepresentation

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Unlike fraudulent concealment, the pleading\r\nrequirement for affirmative fraud is a higher pleading standard and requires\r\nmore specificity. Again, for the same\r\nreasons above, the court finds that Plaintiff has not sufficient pled affirmative\r\nfraud. Plaintiff makes references to\r\nmarketing materials, but fails to specifically identify (1) the exact marketing\r\nmaterial to which Plaintiff refers (a commercial, a brochure, etc.) (2) the\r\ndate/year that the marketing material was published and/or available (Plaintiff\r\nreferences knowledge as early as 2015, but how Kia would know about GDI defects\r\nin 2015 is unclear), (3) the specific make, model, and year to which the\r\nmarketing material refers, and (4) how Plaintiff reasonably relied on the\r\nmarketing material (e.g., what type of marketing material did Plaintiff actually\r\nview and which portions of that material did Plaintiff rely on)? The basis for Plaintiff’s fraud claim against\r\nKia is, therefore, unclear.

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***

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For these reasons, the demurrer to the third and\r\nfourth cases of action are sustained with leave to amend.[1]

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III. \r\nMotion to Strike

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Defendant\r\nmoves to strike Plaintiff’s allegations relating to Plaintiff’s fraud claims\r\nand request for punitive damages. Because\r\nPlaintiff’s punitive damages are related to Plaintiff’s fraud claim and given\r\nthat the court sustained the demurrer to Plaintiff’s fraud claim, the motion is\r\nmoot.

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[1] The court\r\ndoes not find that the economic loss rule, generally, bars intentional fraud or\r\nfraudulent concealment. In Robinson Helicopter Co. v. Dana Corp. (2004) 34 Cal. 4th 979, the court held that when a person makes affirmative misrepresentations\r\nthat induces another party into a contract, the economic loss rule does not\r\nprevent that party from alleging both a contract and a tort claim. (Id. at 991.) While Robinson did not address a fraudulent\r\nconcealment cause of action, that does not necessarily mean that no such\r\nexception exists. The crux of the holding of Robinson is that\r\nany fraud cause of action that is “dispositive fraudulent conduct related to\r\nthe performance of [a] contract” is sufficient to act as an exception to\r\nthe economic loss rule. Indeed,\r\nthe definition of fraudulent conduct includes both misrepresentation and\r\nconcealment: Fraud in the inducement occurs where a party’s assent to a\r\ncontract is obtained through “conscious misrepresentation, or concealment, or\r\nnon-disclosure of a material fact which induces the innocent party to enter the\r\ncontract.” (Odorizzi v. Bloomfield School Dist. (1966) 246 Cal.App.2d 123,\r\n128.) The court finds that the economic\r\nloss rule does not generally bar a fraudulent concealment claim.

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