A settlement has been reached in a class action involving Nissan North America Inc. The automaker will pay vehicle owners up to $800 each under a proposed settlement ending a class action alleging that the braking system in certain Nissan trucks and SUVs is prone to sudden failure. Under the settlement, current and former owners of approximately 350,000 2004-2008 Nissan Titans, Armadas and Infiniti QX56 vehicles across the country will be able to file claims seeking reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses they incurred to repair or replace a defective delta stroke sensor, which is a component of the faulty braking system.
Nissan will offer redress starting at $20 for owners of vehicles that had more than 120,000 miles at the time of the repair, and up to $800 for vehicles that had less than 48,000 miles at the time of repair. The settlement addresses the safety defect that was alleged in this lawsuit and it provides a method for reimbursement of the cost of repairing or replacing the parts that have failed.
The Plaintiffs asked the court to certify a nationwide proposed class of consumers who owned or formerly owned the affected vehicles and were forced to replace the faulty sensor. Those Plaintiffs with personal injury claims relating to the affected vehicles are excluded from the class.
The court had previously certified a class of California consumers in the suit in December 2013, and the class now proposed is an expansion of that class. The instant suit incorporates a related class action filed by Tom West, now a class representative in this suit, in Miller County, Ark., in 2011. The agreement was the result of three mediation sessions and months of “dedicated” negotiations.
Notice is to be distributed to the class by way of direct mail and to addresses obtained through Nissan or public records utilizing vehicle identification numbers. Class members will be directed to a website and a toll-free number maintained by the settlement administrator that will provide information concerning the settlement, including, if requested, a copy of the long form notice. Originally filed in April 2011, the complaint alleged that the affected vehicles posed a serious safety threat to consumers because the delta stroke sensor, an electronic component of the affected vehicles that controls critical safety aspects of braking, was prone to failure.
The defect caused drivers to be suddenly unable to stop their vehicles within a reasonably safe time and distance, or at all, according to the suit. Furthermore, the complaint said, the automaker knew about the defect but hid it from consumers “to [Nissan's] significant financial gain.” The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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