Class action filed against GM over fuel efficiency of Duramax diesel engines

By Legal News Line | Apr 13, 2015

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - A Michigan man and a California man are suing a major vehicle manufacturer over allegations the design of its trucks' engines are defective and the company didn't tell consumers prior to them purchasing the vehicles.

Kenneth Dzieciolowski of Macomb, Mich., and Rene Anthony Acedo of Fullerton, Calif., filed the lawsuit on Jan. 14 in the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles against General Motors Co. brand DMAX, Ltd. claiming the DMAX diesel engine design is defective causing a reduction in fuel efficiency. The defendant removed the lawsuit to U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on April 2. Isuzu is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said in 1998 GM and Isuzu created DMAX, Ltd. in order to increase GM's share of the heavy-duty truck market. The lawsuit said Duramax motors are solely supplied by DMAX for GM trucks. The lawsuit claims the motors generate soot and other solids that are filtered through a “diesel particulate filter (DPF)” exhaust system.

However, the DPF is “relatively far downstream from the engine's exhaust manifold,” the lawsuit said, which means the exhaust fumes might not be hot enough to clean out the DPF. If the truck is driven at slow speed for a longer period of time, a light will appear on the dashboard telling the driver to drive at a faster speed in order to heat up the exhaust and clean the DPF, the suit said.

The lawsuit also claims GM attempted to solve the cooling issue through regeneration, which causes the engine speed to increase and heat up the gases. This, however, causes a reduction in fuel economy by 25 to 30 percent, the plaintiffs claim. Dzieciolowski said his vehicle has been out of service more than 35 days as a result of the regeneration problem.

The plaintiffs claim they weren't told about the regeneration or the possible cooling problem prior to purchasing their vehicles. They are seeking class action status for those who purchased GM trucks with the Duramax diesel engines. They are also seeking an unspecified amount of damages plus court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Christopher P. Ridout and Caleb Marker of Ridout Lyon + Ottoson, LLP in Long Beach, Calif.; Shafiel A. Karim of the Law Office of Shafiel A. Karim in Cerritos, Calif.; and Sandesh K. Viswanath of The Skv Firm, PLC of Southfield, Mich..

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