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Connick v. Suzuki Motor Co.

Supreme Court of Illinois

October 18, 1996, FILED

Docket No. 79589

Opinion

 [*487]   [****392]   [**587]  JUSTICE HEIPLE delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiffs, each of whom had purchased a new Suzuki Samurai sport utility vehicle, filed a class action lawsuit in the circuit court of Cook County against  [*488]  defendants Suzuki Motor Company and American Suzuki Motor Corporation (hereinafter referred to collectively as Suzuki). Plaintiffs alleged that the Samurai was unsafe due to its excessive roll-over risk and sought damages from Suzuki for breach of warranty, common law fraud, and violation of the Illinois and Pennsylvania consumer fraud statutes. The circuit court dismissed [***2]  the entire complaint for failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted. The appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part (No. 1-94-1275 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23)), reinstating the counts alleging breach of express and implied warranty under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) ( 810 ILCS 5/1-101 (West 1994)) and the count alleging violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (Illinois Consumer Fraud Act) ( 815 ILCS 505/1 et seq. (West 1994)). The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the remaining counts. We allowed Suzuki's petition for leave to appeal (155 Ill. 2d R. 315) and, for the reasons that follow, we reverse the appellate court's decision to reinstate the UCC warranty counts, affirm the dismissal of the common law fraud count, and affirm the reinstatement of the Illinois consumer fraud count.

FACTS

The named plaintiffs of this class action, residents of Illinois, Pennsylvania and New  [****393]   [**588]  Jersey, each purchased a new Suzuki Samurai from an authorized Suzuki dealer. Some time after their purchases, Consumers Union, a consumer watchdog organization, gave the Samurai a "not acceptable" rating. According [***3]  to Consumers Union, the Samurai was unsafe because it had an excessive risk of rolling over during sharp turns and accident avoidance maneuvers. Subsequently, plaintiffs filed the instant complaint against Suzuki. The class action, filed on behalf of all persons in the  [*489]  United States who purchased or leased a Samurai from Suzuki or an authorized Suzuki dealer, alleged that the Samurai's risk of roll over was due to a defect in either design or production. Significantly, plaintiffs did not allege that they had ever suffered a roll-over accident in a Samurai. Rather, they sought compensation for the diminution in the vehicles' resale value due to the perceived safety risk.

Plaintiffs filed an original complaint and three amended complaints in the circuit court of Cook County. The circuit court, upon Suzuki's successive section 2-615 motions ( 735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 1994)), dismissed each of the complaints for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. This appeal arises from the dismissal of the third amended complaint, which contained counts alleging breach of express and implied warranties, violation of consumer fraud statutes, and common law fraud.

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174 Ill. 2d 482 *; 675 N.E.2d 584 **; 1996 Ill. LEXIS 116 ***; 221 Ill. Dec. 389 ****; 30 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 709

KAREN CONNICK et al., Appellees, v. SUZUKI MOTOR COMPANY, LTD., et al., Appellants.

Disposition:  [***1]  Appellate court judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part; circuit court judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part; cause remanded.

CORE TERMS

consumer fraud, dealers, plaintiffs', seller, manufacturer, breach of warranty, appellate court, notice, reinstate, buyer, actual knowledge, common law fraud, material fact, allegations, Consumers, warranty, safety risk, counts, requirement of notice, circuit court, notified, concealment, specificity, magazine, particularity, Driver, manual, pled, design defect, dealerships

Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleadings, Amendment of Pleadings, General Overview, Appeals, Standards of Review, Commercial Law (UCC), Contract Provisions, Warranties, Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Actual Fraud, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, General Provisions (Article 1), General Provisions, General Provisions, Policies & Purposes, Application & Construction, Definitions & Interpretation, Sales (Article 2), Standards of Performance & Liability, Breach, Excuse & Repudiation, Notice Requirements, Notice of Breach, Notice of Claim, Remedies, Contracts Law, Sales of Goods, Products Liability, Theories of Liability, Breach of Warranty, Knowledge & Notice, Third Party Beneficiaries, Subject Matter, Business Torts, Heightened Pleading Requirements, Business & Corporate Law, Agency Relationships, Pleading & Practice, Rule Application & Interpretation, Vicarious Liability, Governments, Fiduciaries, Nondisclosure, Elements, Antitrust & Trade Law, Consumer Protection, Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices, Business & Corporate Compliance, Buyer's Damages & Remedies, Fraud Remedies, Elements, Causation, Intervening Causation