This class action was brought on behalf of a class of California and nationwide consumers (“Class Members”) who purchased, within the applicable statutes of limitations period, a Graco car seat manufactured between January 1, 2009 and October 2012 that was equipped with a “Signature Buckle” (referred to herein as the “class car seats” or “the products”). These class car seats include, without limitation, any of the following models:
(a) Nautilus; (b) Nautilus Elite; (c) Argos 70; (d) MyRide 65; (e) MyRide 65 with Safety surround; (f) MyRide 70; (g) Comfort Sport; (h) Classic Ride 50; (i) Size4Me; (j) Step 2; (k) CozyCline; (l) SmartSeat; (m) Snugride; (n) Snugride 30; (o) Snugride 32; (p) Snugride 35; (q) Step 1 Safe Seat; and (r) Snugride Click Connect 40.
This action concerns the advertisement and sale of defective child car seats by Defendants under the Graco brand name. The class car seats are defective in that the harness buckle which is a component of the car seats (the “Signature Buckle”) is either unreasonably difficult to unlatch, or simply will not unlatch.
Accoding to the complaint, numerous consumers have reported that they had to either struggle excessively to unlatch their child from the class car seats, had to cut the harness in order to remove their child from the car seats, had to manipulate their child out of the car seat while the harness was still buckled, or simply stopped using the car seat because it would not unbuckle.
The alleged defect includes the inability of the buckles to de-latch, even when dirty. Reasonable consumers expect that childrens’ car seats will get dirty and that even if some dirt accumulates in the latch, the buckles will open. To the extent that Defendants contend that the buckle malfunction is due to foreign material accumulating in the buckle and consumers’ failures to clean the buckle apparatus, Defendants failed to disclose, adequately or at all, material information regarding the necessary cleaning procedures for the car seats.
Defendants knew or should have known that the class car seats had one or more design and/or manufacturing defects which result in the failure of the harness buckle to operate as intended. The defects impede the ability of, or otherwise prevent, the safe and timely removal of the child from the car seat.
The defects pose an unreasonable safety hazard to consumers and/or their children because in the event of a vehicle accident it may be imperative to remove the child from the seat belt as quickly as possible to avoid further injury or death. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “[c]ar crashes are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States.” Moreover, for other reasons, it may be imperative to remove the child from the car seat to avoid injury or death such as if the car becomes submerged in water, if the car is on fire, or if the child is suffering a medical emergency that necessitates quick removal from the car seat.
Because Defendants will not notify Class Members that the class car seats are defective, Plaintiff and Class Members and/or their children are subjected to dangerous conditions.
As alleged, Defendants knew about and concealed the defects in every class car seat, along with the attendant dangerous safety hazards, from Plaintiff and Class Members, at the time of sale and thereafter. In fact, instead of repairing the defects in the class car seats, Defendants refused to acknowledge their existence.
If Plaintiff and Class Members knew about these defects at the time of sale, Plaintiff and Class Members would not have purchased the class car seats or would have paid less for them.