- 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2012-2014 Chrysler 300
- 2012-2014 Dodge Charger
ROLLAWAY DEFECT EXPLAINED
Hagens Berman has filed a national class-action lawsuit representing owners of affected vehicles. The lawsuit states that Fiat Chrysler fraudulently concealed and failed to remedy the defect. According to news reports, 811,000 U.S. vehicles are affected by a dangerous safety defect that can cause cars to roll away after they are parked, causing injuries, accidents and other serious unintended consequences. The defect is rooted in the vehicles' ZF eight-speed electronic shifters, which provide insufficient feedback to the driver to indicate whether the car has been placed in “park.” Rollaways of vehicles inadvertently left out of “park” have reportedly caused hundreds of crashes, dozens of injuries and a fatality.
Fiat Chrysler has initiated a recall of 1.1 million cars worldwide equipped with the defectively designed shifter, including 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees, but has failed to remedy the defect.
IMPORTANT: Despite the recall, many of those who have had their vehicles repaired by FCA report that the repair was ineffective such that the vehicles continue to rollaway or experience incidents in which it is not in the intended gear. Some owners have reported experiencing a rollaway for the first time after the repair. Moreover, dealerships have reported that the first recall remedy was ineffective, and many of the Class Vehicles have had to be fixed more than once. Given the continued risk of a rollaway incident, we urge consumers to use extreme caution when operating these vehicles – even if the recall work has been performed.
Unlike traditional automatic transmission shifters, the ZF shifter in the affected vehicles returns to the same position after each driver input. There’s no physical “park” or “drive” gear lever position, only a light that changes from D to P. At least 41 injuries have been reported, including the recent death of actor Anton Yelchin.
TOP AUTO LITIGATION LAW FIRM
Hagens Berman is one of the most successful auto litigation law firms in the U.S. and is presently leading nationwide cases against Volkswagen, GM, Mercedes and Fiat Chrysler for use of diesel emissions-cheating software. Our firm’s independent research outpaces even government agencies, and we are the only firm dedicating its own resources to uncovering new instances of fraud. Hagens Berman has also taken on other automakers on behalf of consumers throughout the United States for safety defects and negligence, and your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in automotive consumer law.
Defendant’s Motion Granted in Part and Denied in Part. On August 3, 2023, the Court denied Fiat Chrysler’s motion for judgment on the claims brought by the California, New York, and Utah plaintiffs. In the same order, the Court granted Fiat Chrysler’s motion for judgment on the claims brought by plaintiffs from all other states.
A jury trial was held from Sept. 6, 2023 to Sept. 16, 2023. The jury found that the monostable gear shifter was defective under the laws of Utah. For procedural reasons, California and New York were not included in this trial.
On Mar. 31, 2022, U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson denied Fiat Chrysler’s motion for partial summary judgment, allowing the case to continue for those affected by FCA’s monostable gear shift safety defect.
In the 36-page opinion and order, the court stated that defendant’s understanding of Massachusetts law is incorrect and that plaintiffs had, “tendered sufficient evidence to require a trial on the disputed material facts” and “have presented abundant evidence sufficient to allow a jury to find that there was a reasonably available and safer alternative to the monostable shifter design, and that the design is more dangerous than a reasonable consumer would expect.”
The court thoroughly reviewed the case, highlighting exercises and interviews completed by defendants to construct “word clouds” participants used to describe the monostable design. “…[P]articipants described it most frequently as ‘insecure,’ ‘awkward,’ ‘uncomfortable,’ ‘frustrating,’ and ‘difficult,’” and also used the terms “dangerous,” “annoying,” and “piece-of-junk.” Despite this, the order states, Chrysler continued to use an identical design.
COVID-19 has continued to cause severe disruptions to courts around the country including in the Eastern District of Michigan where this matter is being litigated. Currently, the parties are awaiting the court’s ruling on several dispositive motions. We are hoping that circumstances will allow for a trial date sometime in 2022.
The Court has certified a class consisting of purchasors or lessees of 2012-2014 Dodge Charger, 2012-2014 Chrysler 300, or 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with the monostable shifter, where the vehicle was purchased or leased in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming. The class is certified for determination of three issues: a) whether the vehicles are defective; b) whether FCA knew about and concealed the defect; and c) whether information about the defect was material to a reasonable buyer.
In a 68-page ruling, the court harshly denied FCA’s motion to dismiss the first amended consolidated master class-action complaint. The court held that the vast majority of plaintiffs’ claims were adequately pled and ordered plaintiffs to file an amended complaint. Read the order here »
Hagens Berman has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Read the complaint »
On Oct. 5, 2016, the Multi-District Litigation Panel consolidated the multiple nationwide cases brought against Fiat Chrysler (FCA) for the Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge gear shifter rollaway defect, and assigned the cases to a federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan, where FCA is headquartered.
Next, the court will move to determine which firms or attorneys will receive a leadership position in the national, consolidated case.
Hagens Berman filed a complaint against FCA US LLC on behalf of John J. Malone, a 69-year-old retired Massachusetts State Trooper, in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The suit claims that the rollaway defect in Mr. Malone's 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee has caused him serious physical injury. The complaint states that Jeep knew that the ZF Shifter could lead to vehicle rollaway incidents but didn't disclose the defect to Mr. Malone, so Mr. Malone operated the vehicle on the reasonable, but mistaken, belief that his Jeep Grand Cherokee was safe to operate as designed.