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Jacob Glasser, On Behalf of Himself and All Others Similarly Situated and On Behalf of the General Public v. Volkswagen of America

May 17, 2011

JACOB GLASSER, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED AND ON BEHALF OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA, INC.,
DEFENDANT,
AND DAVID T. MURRAY, OBJECTOR-APPELLANT, AND KIMBERLY A. CARR, OBJECTOR.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Audrey B. Collins, Chief District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 2:06-cv-02562-ABC-JTL

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Silverman, Circuit Judge:

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Argued and Submitted May 3, 2011-Pasadena, California

Before: Barry G. Silverman, Richard C. Tallman, and Richard R. Clifton, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge Silverman

OPINION

Objector-appellant David Murray appeals from the district court's order awarding attorneys' fees and costs to Plaintiff-appellee Jacob Glasser. Murray, who expressly disavows any financial interest in the fee the defendant was ordered to pay to Plaintiff's counsel, has failed to demonstrate how he has suffered injury as a result of the fee order. We therefore dismiss his appeal for lack of standing.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

I. The Class Complaint Against Volkswagen

This case was filed in April 2006 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and a class of owners and lessors of 2007 model year and older VW and Audi vehicles, alleged that VW limited the availability of replacement vehicle keys and failed to sufficiently disclose information about the potential difficulty and expense of obtaining such replacements. The complaint alleged that replacement keys are difficult to obtain in part because, as a security measure, these "smart keys" must be programmed by computer to match the individual code for a particular vehicle. Plaintiff contended that VW refused to give to independent locksmiths the technological information necessary to reproduce VW smart keys, thereby restricting the market for VW smart keys to franchised dealers and facilities and fixing prices for keys at an artificially high level. Plaintiff alleged several California law unfair competition and misrepresentation claims against VW and sought injunctive relief, a variety of damages, and attorneys' fees under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 and California Civil Code section 1780(d). The action was removed to the district court under the Class Action Fairness Act, Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4 (2005).

II. The Terms of the Settlement Agreement

The parties began settlement discussions almost immediately, representing to the district court that settlement discussions were underway within three months of the complaint's filing. In April 2008, a settlement agreement was submitted to the district court for preliminary approval. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Plaintiff released his claims against VW, and VW denied all wrongdoing and liability. The agreement also confirmed the parties' understanding that (1) VW had, in fact, made smart-key replacement technology available to independent sources, as well as franchised VW and Audi dealers; (2) VW had not fixed prices for the keys; and

(3) franchised dealer prices are competitive with those charged by independent sources. VW also agreed to make a series of new disclosures regarding the cost, availability, and operation of smart ...


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