Issue: Noxious mold in Mercedes-Benz vehicle air-conditioning units
New Lawsuit Filed December 2018 in Federal Court on Behalf of Mercedes-Benz Owners Nationwide
On December 12, 2018, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel filed a larger, federal consumer fraud class action lawsuit against Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler AG over owner allegations of defective air conditioning systems. Filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the lawsuit claims the vehicles in question, which include numerous model years of Mercedes C-Class, CL-Class, CLA-Class, CLK-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class, GL-Class, GLS-Class, GLK-Class, GLC-Class, M-Class, GLE-Class, GLA-Class, R-Class, S-Class, SL-Class, SLK-Class, and Maybach 57 and 62, have a faulty design that, during normal and expected conditions, fails to properly evaporate or drain the accumulated system condensation, creating a rich environment for the growth of bacteria, fungi, mold, and spores, which then are blown into the passenger cabin when the AC System is in use. The mold-carrying air has a highly unpleasant noxious and mildewy smell that cause the vehicles’ passenger cabins to be unbearable and thus unusable for their intended purpose, and can also cause respiratory problems and aggravate allergies.
April 2018 Case News: California Federal Court Decision Denies Mercedes’ and Daimler’s Attempts to Dismiss Moldy Vehicle Air Conditioning Lawsuit
On April 16, 2018, Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an Order rejecting defendants Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler AG’s motions to strike and dismiss plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint in the litigation over allegations of defective, mold-harboring climate control systems in numerous Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The defendants had moved to strike the claim for damages under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and to dismiss the common law implied warranty claims and all of the express warranty claims, along with all amendments to the original filed complaint.
The case will now move forward. Discovery is already underway, and should move along more swiftly now, as this order moots some of the objections defendants have been using to try to delay the discovery process.
Georgia Federal Court Decision Rejects Mercedes’s Attempt to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Claims in Moldy AC Lawsuit
In March of 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg of the Northern District of Georgia issued an order denying most of Mercedes’s arguments attempting to dismiss Plaintiffs’ putative class action against Mercedes over allegations of mold in Mercedes vehicle AC. At the same time, the Court confirmed the validity of plaintiffs’ claims that Mercedes-Benz misled its customers by selling them expensive cars Mercedes knew to have defective, mold-harboring climate control systems. Per the Court’s order, the case will now move into the discovery phase. In particular, the Court has asked the parties to consider how discovery already taken in the related California case (discussed below) can be applied in this case to save time and cost, and increase efficiency in the discovery process.
Second Mercedes-Benz Mold Lawsuit Filed in Georgia Federal Court in 2017
In May of 2017, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in Georgia against Mercedes-Benz USA on behalf of consumers over complaints that various Mercedes vehicles dating as far back as the 1999 model year through to the present have a serious design defect that causes the air conditioning system to accumulate mold and mildew, spewing extremely unpleasant odors throughout the vehicles any time the air system is in use. The lawsuit seeks class action status and effective long-term repairs, as well as monetary damages for affected Mercedes-Benz owners and lessees, among other relief. Lieff Cabraser partner and case attorney Annika K. Martin is featured in this October 2017 WSB-TV news report alerting Georgia consumers to the Mercedes-Benz AC Mold lawsuit.
The vehicles at issue in this action include:
|2004-2012 A Class||2017 GLE Class|
|2008-2016 Mercedes C-Class||2006-2016 M Class|
|2000-2014 CL Class||2006-2015 R Class|
|2013-2016 Mercedes CLA-Class||1999-2017 S Class|
|2003-2009 Mercedes CLKClass||2003-2012 SL Class|
|2004-2016 Mercedes CLS-Class||2002-2013 SLK Class|
|2003-2016 Mercedes E-Class||2002-2013 Maybach 57|
|2007-2016 Mercedes GL-Class||2002-2013 Maybach 62|
|2010-2016 GLK Class|
Contact Lieff Cabraser
If you own a Mercedes-Benz vehicle and have experienced unpleasant odors coming from the air conditioning/comfort control system, we would like to hear about your experience. Please use the form below to contact an automotive defect attorney at Lieff Cabraser.
The information you provide will be important in helping us hold Mercedes-Benz accountable for the alleged defects in its vehicles and any fraud or other misconduct relating thereto. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your complaint.
2016 Mercedes-Benz AC Mold Class Action Filed in California
In May of 2016, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel filed an earlier class action lawsuit against Mercedes-Benz USA also on behalf of consumers over the same AC mold odor complaints, involving various Mercedes vehicles dating back to the 2003 model year and continuing to the present that allegedly have the same serious design defect causing mold and mildew to accumulate in the HVAC system, causing extremely unpleasant odors to permeate the vehicles any time the air system is in use. Among other relief, this suit also seeks class action status and effective long-term repairs, along with monetary damages for affected Mercedes-Benz owners and lessees.
Allegations in the Mercedes-Benz Climate System Lawsuits
The lawsuits include allegations of fraud, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment, among other claims, and seeks effective long-term repairs as well as monetary damages for affected Mercedes-Benz owners and lessees. Owners note that the Mercedes’ heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems (“HVAC Systems”) in question are predisposed to produce these awful moldy odors under normal use conditions that would not cause nondefective HVAC Systems to produce such odors, and have led many owners and lessees to pay for repeated nonpermanent “fixes” including replacements of cabin air filters and ongoing system flushes with disinfectant sprays — extra costs that Mercedes refuses to cover even while the vehicles were still under warranty.
The complaint further alleges that Mercedes knew of the HVAC system defect through repair data, replacement part sales data, early consumer complaints made directly to Mercedes (collected by and reflected in the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s Office of Defect Investigation), via postings on public online vehicle owner forums, testing done in response to those complaints, aggregate data from Mercedes dealers, and other internal sources. Yet as noted in the complaint’s claims, despite this knowledge, Mercedes failed to disclose and in fact actively concealed the HVAC system defect from consumers and continued to market and advertise the vehicles as “sophisticated,” “comfortable,” and “state-of-the-art” vehicles, which — with noxious mold odors rendering them undrivable — they are not.
2017 Status of the California Mercedes HVAC Mold Case
In March of 2017, Senior Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied in substantial part defendant Mercedes-Benz’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Judge Hatter denied Mercedes’ requested dismissal relating to issues of standing, and order that the case proceed with respect to the majority of plaintiffs’ claims. The case is proceeding into the discovery phase.