For What It’s Worth: Vehicle owners file class action lawsuits to recoup losses from auto defects

posted on:
July 19, 2016

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud

A vehicle is one of the major purchases a person will make. A lot of time is usually invested in researching the best deal, finding a good warranty plan, and making sure the vehicle is suitable for the driver’s needs. A new vehicle purchase also has a lot of emotional attachment. People want to love what they drive. But above all, they need to rely on the vehicle.

When a manufacturer creates a defective vehicle, the bond of trust between the consumer and the manufacturer is broken. The car may lose value, making it impossible to resell, or incurring uninsurable repair costs. In short – the consumer isn’t getting what he paid for, or what he was promised.

Beasley Allen is currently working on a number of auto defect class actions in an effort to secure compensation for economic losses related to the defective vehicles. Some cases we are working on include:

Soy-Based Wiring

A growing number of consumer reports and complaints are raising concerns that automotive wiring made from soy and other biodegradable food-based materials is transforming car engines into the ultimate bed and breakfasts for rodents, usually causing extensive and costly damage.

The Toyota Prius is just one of dozens of vehicle models whose soy-based wires tend to attract rodents, but it seems to be the source of most complaints. One partial list of “cars that taste good” to rodents compiled by synthetic lubricant company SynLube shows that rodent damage to wires has been reported in more than a dozen types of Toyota vehicles.

Honda also is facing a federal class action lawsuit representing vehicle owners in three states who claim soy-based electrical wire coatings have caused rats, mice, rabbits, and squirrels to munch on Honda engines like snacks, causing severe and costly damage.

It is likely that more than a dozen other automakers will face similar claims after they started using soy-based plastics to cover wiring because they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional petroleum-based plastics.

Takata Airbags

Beasley Allen lawyers, along with co-counsel, have filed a class action lawsuit for economic losses related to potentially defective airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation. The lawsuit represents those who own certain model Honda vehicles that contain the Takata airbags, which may deploy with excessive force, propelling metal fragments into the vehicle and potentially killing or injuring the driver and passenger.

To date, more than 34 million vehicles with Takata-manufactured airbags have been recalled due to defects. Among those are more than 5 million Honda vehicles, including the following makes and model years:

  • 2001- 2007 Honda Accord
  • 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
  • 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
  • 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 Honda Ridgeline
  • 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
  • 2005 Acura RL

Any person in the United States who purchased or leased a Class Vehicle equipped with the defective Takata airbags is eligible to participate in this class action litigation.

The recall is both the largest automotive recall ever announced as well as the largest recall of any consumer product. It is very likely class action lawsuits will be filed on behalf of consumers against additional auto manufacturers with vehicles that contain the defective Takata airbags.

Volkswagen

Beasley Allen is one of the law firms chosen to litigate the Volkswagen case on behalf of plaintiffs harmed by the automaker’s emissions cheat. Volkswagen installed the emissions cheat on 10.5 million diesel-powered vehicles worldwide, including the half million U.S. vehicles — all while promoting “clean diesel” as an alternative to electric and hybrid vehicles.

The defeat device enables the vehicles to detect the special parameters of an emissions drive cycle, which prompts the vehicle’s computer to turn on emissions controls, thereby making the vehicle fully compliant with EPA rules during testing. The software also senses steering, throttle, and other variables unique to real-time driving, which cues the computer to turn off emissions controls, allowing the vehicle to release extremely high levels of nitrogen-oxide emissions up to 40 times higher than federal limits.

A settlement was reached June 27 between Volkswagen and owners of about half a million diesel-powered VW vehicles is worth more than $14 billion, including $10.033 billion set aside to cover vehicle buybacks and fixes, $2 billion for “green energy” funds and $2.7 billion to offset diesel emissions. The settlement is pending approval of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who is overseeing the consolidated litigation.

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