BMW of North America LLC has agreed to conduct vehicle checks and repairs and reimburse out-of-pocket expenses to settle a proposed class action lawsuit in New York federal court. The lawsuit involves a design defect that leads to electrical damage through leaky trunks. The proposed class, which is made up of owners and lessees of model year 2004-2010 BMW 5-series vehicles in New York, asked U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest to grant preliminary approval of the settlement. The settlement arises from claims that sunroof drain tubes can become clogged and leak into the trunk of the vehicles, causing damage to the tire pressure monitor and other electronic components that are placed in and around the vehicle’s tire well.

Under the terms of the settlement, proposed class members will be able to take their vehicles to authorized BMW centers to receive checks for water damage and electrical failure. If a component is found to be faulty, BMW will replace it, free of charge. The program follows a 2010 technical service bulletin released by BMW detailing the same program. For those who already replaced damaged components through an authorized dealer or third party and paid for the repairs, BMW agreed to reimburse those class members up to $1,500 each. There are six electronic components covered under both the replacement and reimbursement program, including the tire pressure monitor.

In addition to the replacement and reimbursement, BMW will add a new label to the vehicle warning not to place liquids in the trunk as they may damage the sensitive components underneath. Those accepting the reimbursement will have to submit a claim form detailing the repair, cause and mileage of the vehicle, among other things.

Under the terms of the settlement, owners or lessees who suffered a defect from misuse, such as a failure to adhere to state traffic laws, will be excluded from the reimbursement program. The settlement motion also requested the court to schedule a fairness hearing.

Catalano and the proposed class are represented by Edward A. Wallace and Amy E. Keller of Wexler Wallace LLP, William A. Kershaw, Stuart C. Talley and Ian J. Barlow of Kershaw Cutter & Ratinoff LLP, Stephen M. Harris of The Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris PC, Robert L. Starr of The Law Offices of Robert L. Starr and Joseph R. Santoli of The Offices of Joseph R. Santoli. The case is Catalano v. BMW of North America LLC et al. (case number 1:15-cv-04889) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.


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