General Motors told a Florida federal judge that a driver’s proposed class action over the vehicle manufacturer’s alleged brake defect shouldn’t hinge on a recent decision in a California court involving a similar case because that decision was wrong, Law360 reports.

Florida resident Jason Compton is representing a class of plaintiffs that claim the mechanical pulley-driven vacuum pump installed in 2014-2018 model Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC trucks and SUVs can suddenly and unexpectedly fail prematurely. Drivers have complained about the brake pedal going hard and braking capabilities decreasing, particularly at low speeds, which significantly increases their risk for injury.

Compton, who purchased a used 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in 2017, says he experienced the same hard braking issue while driving downhill in January 2019. It forced him to turn into a ditch along the road. He took the truck to a GM-franchised dealership, where the braking failure was blamed on a faulty vacuum pump. He was charged $513.60 to have the issue resolved. His proposed class action alleges GM violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

GM recalled nearly 3.5 million class vehicles in September 2019, about a year after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary investigation after receiving reports of crashes linked to the reported brake defect. The recall involves reprogramming the Anti-lock Braking System computer. However, drivers say this hasn’t eliminated the problem.

Compton’s attorney and attorneys for the proposed class pointed to a decision in California to keep a similar case alive — Peckerar v. General Motors, in which U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee found that Scott and Samantha Peckerar had grounds to sue GM because they sufficiently claimed economic loss and potential future injury resulting from their purchase of a new 2017 Chevrolet Suburban.

The Peckerars claimed that the value of their car depreciated due to the faulty braking system, and that had they known of the defect before buying the car they would have paid less for the vehicle.

GM argued that the Peckerar case shouldn’t be held as an example because the decision was based in part on speculative allegations as far as the possible future injury is concerned. The manufacturer claims Compton’s alleged injury is even “more speculative than the Peckerar’s because he alleges he experienced a brake issue once and does not allege uncompensated property damage,” GM said in its filing in Florida court. Plaintiffs’ attorneys said that those arguments were already quashed by the Peckerar decision.

Beasley Allen lawyers Clay Barnett, in our Atlanta office, and Mitch Williams in the Montgomery office represent plaintiffs in the brake defect class action lawsuit involving full-size GM trucks and SUVs that experience sudden unnecessary “phantom braking” when there is no obstacle present. They are also currently working on claims involving Ford F150 trucks that suffer a loss of brakes due to a master cylinder defect.

 

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