Hagens Berman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Kia Motors Corp. (KSE: 000270.KS) and its subsidiary Kia Motors America, claiming some of its vehicle models feature gas tank defects that put passengers at risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident.
The suit, filed on Nov. 13, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for Central District of California, seeks to represent a class of consumers who purchased, leased and/or currently own or lease a Kia model with a gas tank that is either not connected to the underside of the vehicle with reinforced straps or is not protected by a whole-tank shield, or vehicles that have a plastic fuel pump service cover that is accessible from the passenger compartment of the car.
Hagens Berman claims that these vehicles are defective and that their design can lead to their gas tanks dislodging and rupturing in an accident, putting passengers at risk of a gas tank fire invading the passenger cabin.
“Our work and investigation paint a clear picture in our minds: these cars are simply unsafe,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead attorney on the case. “The placement of the gas tanks, combined with the lack of standard safety measures such as reinforced straps, effectively mean that rear-seat passengers are sitting atop what amounts to a gas-fed bomb.”
“This is not a hypothetical problem,” said Berman. “In Texas, an example of the potential risk has already been made apparent. Three passengers were driving in a Kia Soul and were completely engulfed in flames when the gas tanks exploded, and we believe that the defects we highlight in our lawsuit were to blame.”
The suit also calls into question Kia’s marketing tactics, which heavily emphasize vehicle safety, citing these tactics as misleading customers into purchasing or leasing vehicles of a quality different than they were promised, as well as paying more than they would have had they been aware of any gas tank defects.
Hagens Berman contends that Kia has violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and False Advertising Law. The suit also claims that Kia committed a breach of implied warranty of merchantability committed fraudulent concealment.
Individuals who have purchased or leased a Kia vehicle with a defective gas tank may contact Hagens Berman by calling 206-623-7292 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.