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United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
March 31, 2020, Decided; March 31, 2020, Filed
Case No. 16-CV-3348 (NEB/LIB)
Plaintiffs bring this action under the laws of six states on behalf of a putative class of all-terrain vehicle ("ATV") buyers. They claim that Defendant Polaris Industries, Inc. omitted material facts about an alleged defect at the time they purchased their Sportsman ATVs. Fact and expert discovery have now closed. Plaintiffs move for class certification, and Polaris moves to strike certain of Plaintiffs' expert opinions and for summary judgment on the named Plaintiffs' claims.1
The Court draws the following background facts from the summary judgment record, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs. Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc).
Polaris, headquartered in Medina, Minnesota, manufactures recreational vehicles, such as ATVs and motorcycles. (ECF [**4] No. 340-2 at 23:17-19.) Polaris's ATVs include the Sportsman 450, 570, 850, and 1000. (ECF No. 370 ("Dahl Decl.") ¶¶ 3-4.) The Sportsman 450 and 570 ATVs have smaller single cylinder engines; the Sportsman 850 and 1000 ATVs have larger dual cylinder engines. (Id. ¶ 6.)
As early as 2007, Polaris faced consumer complaints about excessive heat in some of its ATVs. In 2014, the U.S. Consumer Production Safety Commission ("CPSC") opened an investigation in response to reports of several ATV fires. Over the course of that investigation, the CPSC made the preliminary determination that Polaris MY2015-16 Sportsman 850 ATVs present "a substantial product hazard" under 15 U.S.C. § 2064(a), noting that "the right [*949] hand side heat shield is in close proximity to, and in some cases makes contact with [the] exhaust manifold, posing a burn and fire hazard." (ECF No. 336-23 at 2.) The CPSC requested that Polaris voluntarily recall or correct the potentially hazardous Sportsman 850 ATVs. (Id. at 3.) In March 2017, Polaris issued a recall for MY2015-16 Sportsman 850s and 1000 ATVs. (ECF No. 336-24.) Polaris informed consumers that it had developed a new exhaust manifold side panel that "significantly increases the air gap between [**5] the exhaust manifold and exhaust manifold side panel and utilizes a metal heat shield." (ECF No. 336-25.)
The CPSC's investigation also sought information about Polaris's Sportsman 570s. (ECF No. 336-22.) Following the investigation, Polaris issued a service advisory in July 2017 offering an "optional Right Hand Side Panel Close Off Kit that will redirect a portion of the heat produced by the engine and exhaust away from the right hand foot well area" for MY2016-17 Sportsman 450s and MY2014-17 Sportsman 570s. (ECF No. 336-26.)
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450 F. Supp. 3d 931 *; 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56107 **; 2020 WL 1536416
RILEY JOHANNESSOHN, et al., Plaintiffs, v. POLARIS INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendant.
Subsequent History: Affirmed by Johannessohn v. Polaris Indus., 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 24887 (8th Cir. Minn., Aug. 20, 2021)
Prior History: Johannessohn v. Polaris Indus., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99843, 2017 WL 2787609 (D. Minn., June 27, 2017)
consumers, heat, exhaust, damages, Plaintiffs', courts, premium, omission, unfair, causation, purchasers, summary judgment, cases, consumer protection, genuine dispute, scienter, material fact, misrepresentations, manifest, parties, state law, extraterritorially, deceptive, expert testimony, alleges, engine, causal nexus, class action, outcome-determinative, practices
Antitrust & Trade Law, Consumer Protection, Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices, State Regulation, Civil Procedure, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Erie Doctrine, Choice of Law, Forum & Place, Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Nondisclosure, Elements, Evidence, Types of Evidence, Circumstantial Evidence, Trade Practices & Unfair Competition, State Regulation, Scope, Business Torts, Unfair Business Practices, Claims, Federal Trade Commission Act, False Advertising, US Federal Trade Commission, Regulated Practices, Federal Trade Commission Act, Monopolies & Monopolization, Conspiracy to Monopolize, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Certification of Classes, Actual Fraud, Significant Relationships, Governmental Interests, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Judgments, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Burdens of Proof, Genuine Disputes, Burdens of Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Remedies, Damages, Proof, Admissibility, Expert Witnesses, Daubert Standard, Preponderance of Evidence, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Standing, Prerequisites for Class Action, Commonality, Superiority, Predominance, Maintainability