Hyundai and Kia Owners Sue over Electrical Defect Causing Spontaneous Fires
LOS ANGELES – A class action lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia alleges a dangerous defect affecting certain vehicle models can lead to spontaneous fires. According to the lawsuit, Hyundai and Kia were aware of this problem, and reports of electrical fire defects in their vehicles go back as far as 2011.
The lawsuit filed Feb. 25, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, states the defect occurs in certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles when brake fluid or moisture contaminates the hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU), causing electronic circuitry in the system to short. This short can result in a vehicle fire. With no fix for the defect, Hyundai and Kia recommended owners park affected vehicles outside and away from structures and other vehicles, the lawsuit states.
“Hundreds of thousands of folks own a car that could spontaneously catch fire, and the best that Hyundai and Kia can muster is to advise them to park their vehicles outside, away from structures,” said Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman. “We think this utter disregard for consumers’ safety is unacceptable, and we will do everything we can to make Hyundai and Kia take responsibility for what they’ve sold their customers: an accident waiting to happen.”
According to Hyundai, more than 357,830 Hyundai vehicles are subject to this defect, including: 2006-2011 Azera, 2007-2010 Elantra, 2009-2011 Elantra Touring, 2007-2008 Entourage, 2015-2016 Genesis, 2017-2020 Genesis G80, 2007 and 2016-2018 Santa Fe, 2013-2015 and 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Santa Fe XL, 2006 Sonata and 2014-2021 Tucson.
According to Kia, more than 126,747 Kia vehicles are affected subject to this defect, including: 2017-2019 Cadenza, 2016-2018 K900, 2013-2015 Optima, 2006-2010 Sedona, 2007-2009 and 2014-2015 Sorento, 2008-2009 and 2014-2021 Sportage and 2018-2021 Stinger.
Attorneys say the electrical defect in Hyundai and Kia vehicles exposes vehicle owners and passengers to an increased risk of accident, injury, property damage or death. According to the automakers, 11 fires from the defect have been reported.
According to the lawsuit, Hyundai and Kia should have been well aware of the electrical fire defect in affected models based on historical issues with leaks in their anti-lock brake system and numerous recalls for the same issues in other models. In addition, “the internet is replete with consumer complaints about the Electrical Fire Defect,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks to recoup the financial losses of the vehicle owners for vehicle and property damage, as well as other out-of-pocket costs. Attorneys also seek injunctive relief that could include an order requiring Hyundai and Kia to repair, recall or replace affected vehicles and extend warranties.
The suit’s named plaintiffs all purchased affected vehicles under the assumption they were dependable and safe, and that Hyundai and Kia would have notified them of safety defects, the lawsuit states. One plaintiff suffered damages when her 2020 Kia Telluride caught fire, less than a month after she purchased it. The vehicle burst into flames while it was parked in her garage with the engine off. According to the lawsuit, the vehicle was totaled, and there was substantial damage to her home, belongings and other vehicles.
Hagens Berman recently secured a settlement valued at $1.3 billion for owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with the Theta II GDI engine, which were vulnerable to engine failure and fire.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.