Lieff Cabraser and Bruno Newsom filed a consumer fraud class action lawsuit against General Motors Company in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee today on behalf of all persons who purchased or leased in Tennessee certain GM vehicles equipped with an allegedly defective air conditioning system. The lawsuit claims the vehicles in question have a serious defect that causes the air conditioning systems to crack and leak refrigerant, lose pressure, and fail to function properly to provide cooled air into the vehicles. These failures lead owners and lessees to incur significant costs for repair, often successive repairs as the repaired parts prove defective as well.
GM Air Conditioning Failures Vehicle List
Cadillac Escalade 2015-2017
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2014-2016
Chevrolet Suburban 2015-2017
Chevrolet Tahoe 2015-2017
GMC Sierra 1500 2014-2016
GMC Yukon 2015-2017
Nature of the Alleged GM Vehicles AC System Defect
As detailed in the Complaint, the cracking and leakages in the GM vehicle AC systems cause failures that can first occur at low mileages, within the 36,000 mile new vehicle express warranty period. Because of the high number of failures, however, AC System replacement parts are on national backorder and the wait for replacement parts is long – often many months – during which time Plaintiffs and Class Members must suffer without a functioning AC system in their vehicles. As the Complaint further notes, GM’s replacement of faulty AC system components with equally defective replacement parts leaves the AC system in the affected vehicles susceptible to repeated failure, and thus does not permanently remedy the AC system defect.
When the AC System fails outside of the 36,000 mile New Vehicle Express Warranty period, consumers are forced to pay between $150 and $2000 out of pocket to repair their AC Systems with the same defective parts, and still are subjected to the same long wait times for backordered parts. Long wait times for backordered GM parts also mean many consumers are forced to buy aftermarket replacement parts because there is no timeline for when GM parts will be available. The alleged air conditioning system defect also creates a safety risk in affected vehicles, because the AC system failure subjects the occupants to unsafely high temperatures and can lead to decreased visibility due to fogging of the windows and an inability to use the AC system to de-fog the windows.
“When consumers make investments in their vehicles, they should be able to count on multi-billion dollar companies like GM to make cars and SUVs that function reliably and safely as promised,” said attorney Mark Chalos, managing partner of Lieff Cabraser’s Nashville office. Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin added, “Air conditioning is a standard feature that consumers expect – and rely on – to work properly, but GM’s don’t.” Co-Counsel Patrick Newsom of Bruno Newsom added, “Large corporations cannot be allowed to abuse the trust of consumers – corporations like GM need to be held accountable through the civil justice system.”
Did GM Ignore Early Warnings and Consumer Complaints About Defective AC Systems?
The Complaint alleges that prior to the sale or lease of the vehicles at issue, GM knew of the AC system defects via sources such as pre-release evaluations and testing, repair data, replacement part data, early consumer complaints made directly to GM, collected by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, or posted on public online vehicle owner forums, as well as testing done in response to complaints, information provided to GM by dealers, and additional internal sources. Yet despite this knowledge, the Complaint states, GM failed to disclose and actively concealed the AC system defect from the public, and continued to market and advertise the vehicles as “reliable,” “durable,” with “functional,” “customer-focused” interior air conditioning systems, which they are not.
The Complaint lists causes of action for violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, fraudulent concealment, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment, and seeks certification of a plaintiff class defined as:
All persons who purchased or leased a Class Vehicle with the Air Conditioning System in Tennessee. A “Class Vehicle” is a vehicle of any of the following models/model years: 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalade, 2014-2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2015-2017 Chevrolet Suburban, 2015-2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2014-2017 GMC Sierra 1500, 2015-2017 GMC Yukon.
The lawsuit further seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including an order requiring GM to permanently repair the affected vehicles within a reasonable time period and compensatory, exemplary, and statutory damages.
Legal Resources for GM Vehicle Purchasers Experiencing AC Problems
If you purchased or leased one of the subject GM vehicles in the model years noted above and have experienced air conditioning problems, please contact us today about your case. We welcome the opportunity to review your case, and any information you provide will assist us in holding GM accountable for conduct violating state and federal product defect laws.
About Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Recognized as “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms” by The American Lawyer, Lieff Cabraser is a national plaintiffs’ law firm with offices in Nashville, New York, and San Francisco. We have successfully prosecuted scores of product defect class action lawsuits against many of the largest U.S. manufacturers and corporations. Working with co-counsel, we have achieved judgments and settlements in excess of $19 billion for consumers in these cases.
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Mark P. Chalos, 615-313-9000