The Plaintiffs each executed a separate contract with NextGear, whereby the Plaintiffs were provided lines of credit for financing their used car dealership operations. After the Plaintiffs discovered that they had been charged interest and fees on money that had not yet actually been paid on their behalf, they initiated this lawsuit against the Defendants, asserting claims for breach of contract, constructive fraud, unjust enrichment, tortious interference, violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq., and a RICO conspiracy. Following the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ claims, the Court dismissed the unjust enrichment, tortious interference, and RICO conspiracy claims. The Court also dismissed the breach of contract and constructive fraud claims against Cox Automotive and Mr. Wick and all claims against Defendant Cox Enterprises, Inc. (Filing No. 186 at 42). The Plaintiffs sought class certification on their claims for a class involving “[a]ll used car dealers in the United States of America that were parties to a Floorplan Agreement with DSC, n/k/a NextGear, effective during the time period of January 2005 through July 2013.” (Filing No. 165 at 2.) The Court granted class certification on the Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim against NextGear and the substantive RICO claim against NextGear, Cox Automotive, and Mr. Wick, but class certification was denied on the constructive fraud claim. The certified class was defined as “all used car dealers in the United States of America that were parties to a Floorplan Agreement with DSC, n/k/a NextGear, effective during the time period of January 2005 through July 2013,” with a subclass for “all California used car dealers that were parties to a Floorplan Agreement with DSC, n/k/a NextGear, effective during the time period of January 2005 through July 2013, which Floorplan Agreement requires the application of California law.” (Filing No. 220 at 40.)
The Defendants argue that the Plaintiffs’ theory for the breach of contract claim—asserted for the first time in the summary judgment briefing—is that the floorplan agreements are ambiguous on their face. Under such a theory, the Defendants assert, case law is clear that courts must resort to extrinsic evidence on a plaintiff-by-plaintiff basis to determine the parties’ intent regarding the contract. Thus, courts consider the parties’ intent, statements between the parties, course of dealing, and course of conduct. . . The Court agrees with the Plaintiffs that the contracts at issue are ambiguous; however, the Court agrees with the Defendants that ambiguity in the contracts requires consideration of extrinsic evidence, necessitates individualized proof, and undermines the elements of commonality and predominance for class certification. Thus, class certification is not appropriate on the Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim.