A California federal judge was urged last month to approve a settlement in a suit accusing Chrysler Group LLC of tricking consumers into purchasing vehicles that have defective power systems. The putative class contended that the automaker has already recalled the vehicles and has agreed to cover repairs.
The suit alleges that the automaker intentionally concealed a defective power system in its 2011-12 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango and Dodge Grand Caravan vehicles. The putative class told the court that Chrysler, which now operates as FCA US, had already previously initiated a recall of the 2011 models, and that the automaker agreed to expand the recall to the 2012 and 2013 cars before the settlement was reached. It was stated in a court filing:
In addition, FCA US will reimburse vehicle owners and lessees for any related repair and rental car expenses, and will extend its standard warranty from 3 years/36,000 miles to 7 years/70,000 miles for [totally integrated power module] repairs conducted through the recall.
The suit was filed in November 2013 on behalf of eight named Plaintiffs in six different states, claiming Chrysler concealed a known safety defect from customers and didn’t help with subsequent repairs. The Plaintiffs allege the defective power module caused a variety of problems, from vehicles not starting and stalling in traffic to headlights suddenly shutting off and windshield wipers activating on their own.
Judge Pregerson in November partially granted Chrysler’s request, dismissing warranty claims but refusing to dismiss the claims of California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida and Missouri. According to the putative class, the settlement was contingent on Chrysler’s agreement to expand its safety recall over the affected cars. With both the recall and the automaker’s reimbursement of repair costs, the settlement will affect approximately 525,000 class vehicles.
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