A class action lawsuit involving the Jeep Cherokee has been filed against the Chrysler Group LLC. The company is accused of hiding widespread transmission problems with the 2014 model year Jeep Cherokee. Stacy Oquendo, a Jeep Cherokee customer, first filed suit in New Jersey Superior Court on May 15, but Chrysler removed the case to federal court in early July because of cross-state jurisdiction and the size of the potential lawsuit in excess of $5 million.
It was alleged that problems with the Cherokee’s transmission are widespread and depreciated the cars’ value and safety. The complaint stated:
Plaintiff experienced repeated problems with her Jeep Cherokee. The repair history reflects complaints of the transmission not shifting properly, and other transmission problems. She has lost the use of her vehicle for repair, the value of the vehicle is diminished because of its frequent and persistent problems, and the vehicle poses safety concerns to the driver and occupant.
Ms. Oquendo cites a media report to justify her claim that transmission problems occur with unusual frequency in 2014 Cherokees. She also claimed that Chrysler has been unable, or unwilling, to make adequate repairs. The complaint states:
Rather than acknowledge the problem Chrysler has proceeded to deny and/or conceal the problem and directed its dealers to provide deceptive, false, or misleading explanations for the failure to provide warranty coverage and reimbursement. It has breached its standard express warranty and extended warranties.
The proposed class would cover anyone who experienced transmission problems after purchasing a new 2014 Cherokee in New Jersey, New York, Delaware or Connecticut. According to Chrysler’s removal notice, that covers 26,822 cars. Nationwide, 170,997 new model-year 2014 Jeep Cherokees were sold at a base value of $23,000, Chrysler said at the time.
The lawsuit includes claims for alleged breach of express and implied warranty, as well as fraud. It’s alleged in the complaint:
Defendant Chrysler has breached its express warranties by failing to reveal and disclose problem with the vehicles and arrange for appropriate recalls, bulletins, notification, and correction during the term of the warranty. Had it taken appropriate action within the term of its warranty when it knew of the problem of premature failure, plaintiffs and class members would not have later incurred the cost of required repairs. Other owners will likewise suffer increased costs.
The proposed class is currently limited to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Delaware because those states have similar laws. Ms. Oquendo says she has repeatedly taken her car to the dealer, which has done two complete transmission replacements. The dealer was said to have been cooperative with pursuing repairs, but that he “just hasn’t been successful.” Howard A. Gutman, a lawyer from Flanders, N.J., represents the lead Plaintiff in this case.