General Motors named in class action lawsuits over design defect in ignition switches of millions of GM vehicles

Numerous class action complaints have been filed naming General Motors and its part supplier, Delphi, for concealing a dangerous defect in the design of the ignition switches installed in millions of GM vehicles.

According to the complaint, GM’s defective Delphi-manufactured ignition switches have several common switch points, including the “run” (or “on”), “off,” and “acc” (for “accessory”) positions. In the “run” or “on” position, the vehicle’s engine is running and its electrical systems have been activated. In the “acc” position, the engine is turned off but electrical power is generally still supplied only to the vehicle’s entertainment system. In the “off” position, both the vehicle’s engine and electrical systems are turned off.

The defective ignition switches were improperly positioned and prone to becoming loose, thus allowing an inadvertent switch from the “run”/“on” position to either “acc” or “off” during normal operation of the affected vehicles, causing a loss of power to the vehicle’s engine or its electrical systems or both while the vehicle is being driven. Failure of the electrical systems would compromise the vehicle’s power-assisted steering, anti-lock brakes, and safety-airbag systems, putting the vehicle’s drivers and passengers in grave danger.

The ignition switch defect can occur during normal operation of the affected vehicles with catastrophic results such as loss of engine power, loss of power steering, loss of anti-lock braking, and/or loss of the safety airbag system.

As alleged, despite learning of the potential for engine failure and/or loss of steering, braking, and/or airbag functionality as a result of defectively designed ignition switches, GM, for more than 10 years, took no steps to protect or even inform its consumers of the defect or its associated risks.

The complaint alleges that GM failed to disclose the ignition switch defects even after it had become aware that such defects were causing serious and often fatal accidents. To date, GM has recalled nearly 2.6 million vehicles and has linked 13 deaths to the defectively designed ignition switches manufactured by Delphi.

Class: All persons in the United States who own or lease at least one of the following vehicles (collectively referred to herein as the “Vehicles”): 2003-2007 Saturn Ion; 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt; 2007-2010 Pontiac G5; 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR; 2006 -2010 Pontiac Solstice; and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky.

Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC named in class action over sale of Range Rover with Delphi electronic air suspension systems

From the 2003 through the 2006 model years, Defendant Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC (“Land Rover”) sold Range Rover sport utility vehicles equipped with defective Delphi electronic air suspension systems that develop cracks in the rubber air bellows used in those systems.

As alleged, the defect—which can manifest at any time, at any speed, and under any driving condition—causes a loss of air pressure in the suspension system that renders Vehicles suddenly unable to travel in a straight line (the “Air Suspension Defect”), which poses a serious risk of injury and death. In addition to sudden and unexpected breakdowns that can force Class Vehicles to be stranded in the road, the Air Suspension Defect can cause the driver to lose control while the vehicle is in motion.

Plaintiff, who owns a 2006 Range Rover, is informed and believes that Land Rover knew or should have known about the Air Suspension Defect since at least as early as 2003. Plaintiff is informed that, in or about August 2006 after conducting its own internal investigation, Land Rover quietly acknowledged the existence of the defect in a Technical Service Bulletin (“TSB”) in which it concedes that these vehicles “may develop hairline cracks in the rubber material of the front air spring.  The cracks are likely located at the point where the air spring rolls over the plastic base.”

Contrary to its obligations under clearly-established law, Land Rover sold these Vehicles to unsuspecting consumers without notifying them that the Air Suspension Defect even existed, much less offer to repair the resulting problems without cost to the owner if the problem manifested itself outside of the Class Vehicles’ limited 4year/50,000 mile warranty, as Land Rover knew it would. Consequently, Plaintiff and members of the proposed class have been—and continue to be—exposed to a serious safety hazard and continue to bear the cost of repairs necessitated by the Air Suspension Defect on their own.

Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of himself and all other individuals who owned or leased a Class Vehicle for the purpose of requiring Land Rover to (1) notify all members of the proposed class of the nature and impact of the Air Suspension Defect, (2) reimburse proposed class members who have paid to fix the Air Suspension Defect, and (3) repair the Air Suspension Defect free of charge for those proposed class members who have yet to experience the defect, and for compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages.