Lenovo Laptop Defect Suit Partially Dismissed by Judge

On Tuesday, Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright of the District of Minnesota issued an order granting in part Lenovo’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s first amended complaint. The plaintiff filed this class-action lawsuit against Lenovo alleging that its computer models Yoga 520 (Flex 5) and the Yoga 730 had defects that cause the display to malfunction.

The plaintiff asserted that Lenovo represents to consumers that the “the Flex 5 has a ‘360-degree hinge’ and is able to ‘easily flip into tablet mode… [or] tent mode’” and the Yoga 730 allegedly makes similar claims. Additionally, Lenovo advertises that the computers have “‘Ultra HD’ and ‘4k’ high resolution displays” asserting that consumers will “‘see every detail’” and “‘be able to watch movies and browse the web in vivid detail from nearly every angle.’” However, the plaintiff, who purchased a Flex 5 in December 2017, alleged that the Yoga 730 and Flex 5 “are designed and manufactured with a monitor display defect” that allegedly “causes part or all of the monitor display to ‘flicker, freeze, black out, and/or display corrupted visuals.’” Thus, the plaintiff asserted that when these issues occur the purported defect “renders the device partially or wholly unusable” and these issues are allegedly aggravated why a user folds the monitor into tent or tablet mode.

The plaintiff filed the putative class-action lawsuit in October 2019. The plaintiff’s amended complaint alleges 10 counts against Lenovo, the first five claims allege violations of the Minnesota Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act (MPCFA), Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practices Act (MDTPA), Minnesota Unlawful Trade Practices Act (MUTPA), Minnesota False Statements in Advertising Act (MFSAA), and Minnesota’s Private Attorney General Statute, respectively and the last five allege breach of express warranty in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of implied warranty in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment, respectively. Lenovo sought to dismiss claims 1-5, 7, 8, and 10.

The court first rejected the defendant’s arguments that the plaintiff lacked standing, finding that the plaintiff has “standing to assert his own individual claims as to the alleged defects in the Flex 5 laptop.” The court adds that there are “substantial similarities between the Flex 5 and the Yoga 730 for purposes of resolving the pending motion to dismiss,” but the issue of whether the plaintiff has standing to represent the putative class is deferred until class certification.

The court agreed with the defendants’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and in turn dismissed three of the claims.

Lenovo alleged that the plaintiff’s MDTPA (count 2) claim fails because they failed to allege an irreparable injury or threat of future harm to themselves; the court agreed in dismiss that caount as well. The judge also dismissed the plaintiff’s fourth claim for MFSAA because they failed to plead that Lenovo’s allegedly false statements were made or viewed in Minnesota.

The court then turned to the breach of implied warranty claims raised by the plaintiff. The judge disagreed with Lenovo’s arguments that the claims should be dismissed because the “implied-warranty claims were disclaimed by Lenovo’s limited warranty.” The judge instead found that the plaintiff’s allegations that “Lenovo knowingly sold a defective product without informing consumers about the defect and that, because of this knowledge, Lenovo’s attempts to limit its implied warranties are unenforceable” are sufficient at this point in the litigation to proceed.

Finally, the court concluded that the plaintiff sufficiently pleaded an unjust enrichment claim; specifically, that Lenovo “knowingly received payment in exchange for allegedly defective products and that Lenovo’s retention of that payment is unjust.” However, the court held that the plaintiff’s claim is barred by Lenovo’s limited warranty and because the plaintiff failed to allege that Lenovo’s limited warranty failed to provide an adequate legal remedy, Lenovo’s motion to dismiss this claim is granted.

In sum, the court dismissed six of the ten counts raised in the amended complaint.

Lenovo is represented by Bassford Remele and K&L Gates LLP. The plaintiff is represented by Gustafson Gluek and Migliaccio & Rathod.