In Sharlene Shu v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., No. 3:22-cv-04661-LB, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68626, at *20-22 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 19, 2023), Judge Beeler dismissed a CLRA class action due to failure to give proper pre-suit notice.
First, Ms. Shu did not provide the written notice required by the CLRA. If a plaintiff sues for damages under the CLRA, she must send a written notice of the claim to the defendant thirty days before filing suit “by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to the place where the transaction occurred or to the person’s principal place of business within California.” Cal. Civ. Code § 1782(a). A claim for injunctive relief brought under § 1770 “may be commenced without compliance with subdivision (a).” Cal. Civ. Code § 1782(d). “Not less than 30 days after the commencement of an action for injunctive relief,” a plaintiff may amend their complaint to include a request for damages “after compliance with subdivision (a).” Id. “The purpose of the notice requirement . . . is to give the manufacturer or vendor sufficient notice of alleged defects to permit appropriate corrections or replacements,” and this “purpose may only be accomplished by a literal application of the notice provisions.” Outboard Marine Corp. v. Super. Ct., 52 Cal. App. 3d 30, 40-41 (1975); In re Apple & AT&T iPad Unlimited Data Plan Litig., 802 F. Supp. 2d 1070, 1077 (N.D. Cal. 2011) (“[f]ederal courts have required strict adherence to the statute’s notice provision”) (cleaned up); Keilholtz v. Lennox Hearth Prods., Inc., No. C 08-00836 CW, 2009 WL 2905960, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 8, 2009) (“the pre-litigation notice requirement must be literally applied and strictly construed”). Ms. Shu contends that she satisfied the notice requirement because she filed a complaint for injunctive relief and then amended it to add her claim for damages.29 This does not satisfy the CLRA because filing a complaint is not the same as sending the letter. The plaintiff cites cases that purportedly support her approach, but they do not. In Zeiger v. WellPet LLC, for example, the plaintiffs sent a separate letter to defense counsel providing proper CLRA notice before amending the complaint to add a damages claim. 304 F. Supp. 3d 837, 845 n.1, 855 (N.D. Cal. 2018) (judicially noticing letter and holding that “Plaintiffs . . . provided notice to Defendants on July 19, 2017” in the letter). In Morgan v. AT&T Wireless Servs., Inc., the court held only that amending a complaint to add a CLRA damages claim is allowed “as long as it is done” after “compliance with the notice requirement.” 177 Cal. App. 4th 1235, 1260-61 (2009). The court dismisses the CLRA damages claim without prejudice. Frenzel v. AliphCom, 76 F. Supp. 3d 999, 1016-17 (N.D. Cal. 2014) (dismissing CLRA damages claim without prejudice).