SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - A class action lawsuit has been filed against Hyundai after owners of the 2010-2012 Hyundai Santa Fe claim Hyundai knew about a stalling defect on the vehicles, but waited years to issue a recall.
Julia Reniger and Greg Bataglia claim the stalling defect can suddenly cut power to the brakes and steering, which increases the risk of a crash, according to a complaint filed Aug. 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Hyundai initiated a "Service Campaign" to address the problem earlier in August, but it did not actually fix the problem, according to the suit.
"The stalling defect has been documented to occur under a multitude of driving conditions," the complaint states. "Some owners have reported the class vehicles shutting off completely without warning when driving at low speeds, turning or coming to a stop."
The plaintiffs claim some owners have also reported their vehicles shutting down while driving at full speed on city streets and highways.
Stalls have been reported to occur on both uphill and downhill grades, when accelerating and/or decelerating, when at a stop and even when going in reverse, according to the suit.
"Accounts posted on the Internet by Class Vehicle owners over a period of several years vividly illustrate the extreme danger posed by the Stalling Defect," the complaint states.
The plaintiffs claim Hyundai says it believes the vehicles can stall when the driver is braking at low speed, which can momentarily reduce the engine RPM. In combination with an additional, simultaneous load on the engine, the reduced RPM can cause the engine to stall, the complaint says.
"Consumers who have complained to [the] defendants concerning the stalling defect have either been told that nothing was wrong with their vehicles, that the problem could not be replicated and therefore could not be addressed or provided with ineffective 'fixes' that failed to solve the problem," the complaint states.
The plaintiffs claim the defendant intentionally concealed this information from consumers to protect their own financial interests.
Hyundai also provided owners with "false or misleading" reassurances that the vehicles were safe to drive, according to the suit.
Subsequent to purchase, Reniger's vehicle stalled on multiple occasions under a multitude of driving conditions, she says. The first stall occurred within a few months of purchase, she says.
Each time Reniger's vehicle stalled it experienced an accompanying loss of power to the steering and brakes, she says.
Reniger brought her vehicle to Mission Hills Hyundai three times during March to have the stalling defect repaired and multiple "fixes" were attempted including, among other things, cleaning the throttle body and changing the battery, she says.
Each time, however, shortly after she picked up her vehicle, it stalled again, according to the suit.
"Because the Hyundai dealer was unable to remedy the stalling defect after repeated attempts, and the defect was a serious safety issue which impacted plaintiff's use and enjoyment of her vehicle, plaintiff subsequently traded in her vehicle," the complaint states.
Had Reniger known of the stalling defect, she would never have purchased the subject vehicle.
The plaintiffs claim Hyundai violated California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California Business code and breached its implied warranties.
The plaintiffs are seeking class certification, an order requiring the defendant to perform a safety recall and compensatory damages. They are represented by Lionel Z. Glancy and Mark S. Greenstone of Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP.
The case has been assigned to District Judge Laurel Beeler.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 3:14-cv-03612
From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.