July 24, 2017
In re: Kenai Batista v. Nissan North America, Class Action Settlement
CLASS ACTION: CASE NO. 1:14-CV-24728-CIV-SCOLA/OTAZO-REYEZ
A Miami federal judge has given final approval to a nationwide class action settlement that provides extended powertrain warranties to owners of Nissan Pathfinders and Infinitis with transmission problems. The alleged defect caused severe shaking of the vehicle upon acceleration in 2013-14 Pathfinders and Infiniti JX35 and QX60s.
Prominent among the 1,000 pages of evidence in favor of class certification was testimony from Steve Gaskin, a marketing science expert from Applied Marketing Science, Inc., who has developed a technique to calculate the potential economic damages of car owners who never saw the defect show up in their vehicles.
“...Mr. Gaskin was retained to create the conjoint analysis to determine the difference in value between what the putative class members thought they were receiving in the bargain with the Affected Vehicles they actually received; thus, he could determine the Class’s damages. The selection and retention of Mr. Gaskin as a damages expert in this case followed an extensive and rigorous analysis of the law and facts to determine recoverable damages. One of the major challenges in a consumer fraud class action involving a defective product is how to quantify and prove actual damages — which typically requires showing the difference in value between the product without the defect versus the value of the product with the non-disclosed defect. Class Counsel studied and reviewed other cases advancing similar theories, and determined that Mr. Gaskin’s analysis would provide a valid and thorough assessment of the Class’s damages. Examples of analogous cases applying Mr. Gaskin’s conjoint analysis, and review by Class Counsel prior to or after retaining Mr. Gaskin, include: Khoday v. Symantec Corp., 93 F. Supp. 3d 1067 (D. Minn. 2015) (holding that “Gaskin's conjoint analysis is generally a permissible method for calculating damages”); Sanchez-Knutson v. Ford Motor Co., 181 F. Supp. 3d 988 (S.D. Fla. 2016) (holding that Mr. Gaskin’s conjoint analysis was “permissible for purposes of class certification and for determining actual damages in the FDUTPA context” in an automotive defect case, and declining to exclude Mr. Gaskin as an expert witness); and Sanchez-Knutson v. Ford Motor Co., 310 F.R.D. 529 (S.D. Fla. 2015).”