PHILADELPHIA (CN) – The 3rd Circuit reversed an award of more than $4.6 million in attorney fees to the plaintiffs in a voluntarily dismissed class action over an alleged braking defect in Chrysler cars.
Nearly 13 years ago, the plaintiffs brought a products-liability action against Chrysler, which they amended to include violations of the Magnuson-Moss Act and other federal laws.
Chrysler soon recalled the allegedly defective cars, and the plaintiffs dismissed their complaint.
But they sought attorney fees under California state law, despite the fact that their complaint contained no state-law claims.
Justice Barry reversed the lower court’s award of attorney fees to the plaintiffs, on the basis that “no substantive provision of California law was ever pled, much less any violation of an underlying California cause of action ever found.”
The three-judge panel rejected the argument that Chrysler was liable for attorney fees, because the plaintiffs had “catalyzed” the car company to recall cars with the faulty braking system.
“Without more, this should have been game, set and match,” Barry wrote.