In Gertz v. Toyota Motor Corp., 2011 WL 3681647 (C.D.Cal. 2011), Judge Guttierrez granted an automobile manufacturer’s motion to dismiss an express warranty claim on the basis that what Plaintiff’s really were alleging was a product defect, which was mutually exclusive from the warranty claim.  The claim arose from allegations that Prius’ fuel tanks contract in cold weather such that the Prius holds significantly less fuel than its stated capacity and that this “shrinking bladder defect” generates inaccuracies in the gas.  Judge Guttierrez found no lemon law claim could be stated: 


It nonetheless fails, however, on other grounds. The Basic Warranty, by its own terms, covers “repairs or adjustments for defects in materials or worksmanship of any part supplied by Toyota,” subject to certain exceptions.  Here, Plaintiffs’ pleading makes clear that the alleged fuel tank and gauge defects which give rise to Plaintiffs’ breach of warranty claim exist with respect to all of Toyota’s 2004–2009 Prius vehicles, not merely the particular vehicle owned by the Troups. This claim, in other words, concerns an alleged defect in design.  “Unlike defects in materials or workmanship, a design defect is manufactured in accordance with the product’s intended specifications.” Brothers v. Hewlett–Packard Co., No. C–06–02254 RMW, 2007 WL 485979, at *4 (N.D.Cal. Feb.12, 2007); see also McCabe v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 100 Cal.App.4th 1111, 1120, 123 Cal.Rptr.2d 303 (2002) (stating that a design defect “exists when the product is built in accordance with its intended specifications, but the design itself is inherently defective.”). Thus, because the terms of Toyota’s Basic Warranty do not extend to design defects, Plaintiffs fail to state a claim for breach of express warranty. See Tait v. BSH Home Appliances Corp., No. SACV 10–711 DOC, 2011 WL 1832941, at *3 (C.D.Cal. May 12, 2011) (dis-missing plaintiff’s breach of express warranty claim based on alleged design defect in the defendant’s washing machines; warranty for any defects in “materials or workmanship” did not cover allege design defect). The Court therefore DISMISSES Plaintiffs’ third cause of action.