Subaru of America Inc. has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit alleging certain vehicles have a defect that causes the hood to fly open at high speeds and crack the windshield. U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler was notified of the settlement last month. The lawsuit, filed by lead Plaintiff Marion Hadley, alleged that Subaru hadn’t done anything to fix the defect affecting its 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca, despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) having received 17 complaints about it. The complaint alleged that the defect endangers drivers and also diminishes the value of the cars.
The hood of Ms. Hadley’s vehicle flew open in May 2015 while she was driving at approximately 65 miles per hour, cracking her windshield and dislodging the rearview mirror. The driver was unable to see the road because of the broken hood, but managed to safely make it to the side of the road.
Ms. Hadley says when she contacted Subaru about the accident, the automaker refused to take responsibility for the defect, wouldn’t compensate her for the cost of repairs and refused to even look at the vehicle. It appears her experience was far from being an isolated incident. Numerous consumers have complained online about the very same defect, and NHTSA has received complaints from drivers citing a similar experience to Ms. Hadley’s.
Subaru was accused of actively concealing the alleged defect and of failing to disclose that the alleged defect would diminish the value of the vehicle. The Plaintiff had asked for certification of a national and Pennsylvania class of drivers who bought or leased the 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca. At least 18,000 of the class vehicles were sold by Subaru.
Claims were made in the complaint under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Claims for breach of express warranty and common law fraud, among others were also made. The Plaintiff is represented by Benjamin Elga, Taylor Asen, William H. Anderson and Charles J. LaDuca of Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca LLP. The case is Hadley v. Subaru of America Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.