Porsche Cars North America Inc. has agreed to settle several class actions that accuse the company of selling vehicles with windshield glare that poses a safety hazard to drivers. Documents filed in New Jersey federal court say the company will pay between $50 and $175 to tens of thousands of drivers who leased or bought a vehicle with a brightly colored dashboard that could cause a noticeable glare on the windshield when it reflects sunlight.
The settlement, which still requires court approval, could benefit more than 74,000 people who leased or bought a Porsche if they can submit proof that they bought sunglasses or made other out-of-pocket expenses to cut down on the glare. Current lessees and owners can receive $75 or $175, depending on the age of their vehicle, and former owners and lessees can get up to $50.
The lawsuit covers Porsche cars from 2007 through 2016 with dashboards in Luxor Beige, Sand Beige, Cognac, Platinum Grey and Natural Brown. The plaintiffs claim that Porsche may have known as early as 2009 that those colors can reflect off the windshield, blinding drivers, but chose to do nothing about the supposed defect even as complaints piled up with auto regulators, dealers and online forums.
The case was settled in its early stages. There had been no class certified and no ruling by the court on a pending motion for dismissal. The parties began mediation early this year and worked out the details by August. The proposed settlement also calls for a pending case in California to be consolidated with the New Jersey case. The settlement also calls for Porsche to notify prospective buyers online and in sales brochures about the reflection issue. The notice language encourages potential customers to test drive the car under different conditions and consider using sunglasses.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Jordan L. Lurie and Tarek H. Zohdy of Capstone Law; Robert L. Starr of the Law Office of Robert L. Starr; Stephen M. Harris of the Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris; and Joseph Santoli of the Law Offices of Joseph R. Santoli. The case is Chan v. Porsche Cars North America Inc., in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.