Class action lawsuits continue to be filed against Volkswagen and Audi over an alleged defect that can lead to “catastrophic engine failure.” Another group of consumers filed suit in New Jersey federal court accusing the companies and their American subsidiaries of concealing the defect. The group of 24 consumers became the latest to accuse the auto companies of hiding a problem with the timing chain systems in certain 2008 to 2013 model year VWs and Audis that can cause the engines to give out far before they should and leave car owners stuck paying thousands of dollars for repairs.
On top of causing costly and premature repairs that the companies purportedly refuse to cover outside of the manufacturer warranty period, the consumers allege in the complaint:
The timing chain system defect also presents a significant safety risk for plaintiffs and members of the classes because when the timing chain system suddenly and unexpectedly fails, class vehicles lose engine power, which causes a loss in the ability to accelerate, maintain speed, and/or adequately control the steering wheel or fully engage the brakes. Thus, drivers and occupants of the class vehicles are at risk for rear-end collisions and other accidents as a result of defendants’ failure to disclose the existence of the timing chain system defect and corresponding safety risk.
While the complaint alleges basically the same claims as were included in a suit filed in May, it also adds alleged violations of a number of state laws, including consumer protection statutes in Florida, Texas and New York. The companies had been hit with another New Jersey lawsuit in June, filed by a Connecticut resident after the defect allegedly affected his 2009 VW Tiguan. The claims involve a timing chain system found in some cars equipped with EA888 engines, including certain model year VW Jettas, Passats and Beetles and Audi A3s, A4s and TTs.
The consumers seek to represent a nationwide class as well as 17 subclasses of people who purchased or leased affected vehicles in states including New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania. They bring nationwide claims such as fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and breach of warranty, as well as a number of state-law claims under consumer protection statutes like the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law.
The proposed class is represented by James E. Cecchi and Lindsey H. Taylor of Carella Byrne Cecchi Olstein Brody & Agnello PC, Gary S. Graifman and Jay I. Brody of Kantrowitz Goldhamer & Graifman PC, Joseph H. Meltzer, Peter A. Muhic, Melissa L. Troutner and Ethan Barlieb of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP, and Thomas P. Sobran of Thomas P. Sobran PC. The suit is Dena Stockalper et al. v. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft et al. in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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