Beasley Allen lawyers Clay Barnett and Mitch Williams, along with the law firms of Cory Watson, P.C., Kiesel Law LLP, Wyly~Rommel, PLLC, and Cuneo Gilbert &LaDuca, LLP represent plaintiffs in a brake defect class action lawsuit. The litigation is concerning defective braking systems in 2014-2018 full-sized SUVs and trucks.

The lawsuit alleges the mechanical pulley-driven vacuum pump installed in the Class Vehicles can suddenly and unexpectedly fail prematurely. Drivers report a hard brake pedal and decreased braking capabilities, particularly at low speed operation, which dramatically increases the risk for injury.

Consumer complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are in the hundreds, where drivers consistently report a stiff/hard brake pedal that requires multiple times the normal leg force needed to activate the hydraulic brakes. Some drivers report a simultaneous dashboard alert that the brake assist system requires servicing.

GM recalled nearly 2.5 million Class Vehicles in September 2019. The announcement comes nearly a year after NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation of the problem in response to reports of crashes linked to the defect. GM’s recall involves reprogramming the Anti-lock Braking System computer. This is inadequate.

“While it is good that GM publicly acknowledged the defect and its inherent safety risk, they’ve misled Americans by implying that they can remedy a mechanical brake failure with an electronic software patch,” says Beasley Allen lawyer Clay Barnett, who practices in the firm’s Atlanta office. “Ultimately, the failing mechanical vacuum pump at the heart of the defect should be replaced with a more robust unit. GM knows that a software update cannot compensate for a physically worn mechanical pump.”

Consumer complaints filed with NHTSA document instances where consumers received the recall repair but continue to experience hard brake pedal and decreased braking abilities:

I experienced a hard brake pedal at low speed with minimal stopping prior to the vehicle being recalled for the brake vacuum pump issue that was to reprogram the electronic brake control module. The recall has been performed in early December 2019 and since the recall I’ve experienced the hard brake pedal with increased stopping distance several times at low speed and in one particular instance a trailer was in tow as I was maneuvering into a parking spot. The recall in my opinion was not the actual solution to a potentially dangerous issue.

Operators of these vehicles should pay close attention to the braking capabilities before and after receiving the Recall software update.

The case is Jason Compton v. General Motors LLC; 1:19-cv-00033-AW-GRJ; filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida.

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