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Court Allows Defective Brake Class Action Against Hyundai to Continue

On Friday, September 29, 2017, U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa of the Southern District of New York allowed a proposed class action over an alleged brake defect in certain Hyundai Sonata sedans against Hyundai Motor America ("Defendant") to move forward. The Court found that although some of the drivers' claims should be thrown out, others deserve to proceed.

Steve Miller, Richard Kotelly, Kathleen Riordan, Charlene Liddle, Krista Pierskalla, and Rebecca McCormick, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), accuse Defendant of using inadequate materials in the braking systems of 2006-2010 model year Hyundai Sonatas. Allegedly, the use of those materials led to premature corrosion, brake pad seizure, and out-of-pocket repair costs for the proposed class of Hyundai Sonata owners and lessors. Additionally, Plaintiffs' amended complaint alleges that Defendant knew of the premature corrosion issue but still charged customers for brake system repairs that would only temporarily stop the corrosion.

Judge Griesa dismissed Plaintiffs' breach of warranty claims, finding that the issue affecting the brakes was a design defect, rather than a manufacturing defect. Judge Griesa held that a manufacturing defect is a mistake that renders an ordinarily safe product dangerous, while a design defect occurs when a product is made the way it was intended to be made, but is unreasonably dangerous as designed. The Court also differentiated between an intentional selection of defective materials and an unintended deviation inherent to manufacturing defects. However, the Court allowed Plaintiffs' consumer protection claims to proceed, citing Plaintiffs' assertion in the amended complaint that Hyundai knew of and concealed the purported defect.

The legal team at SFMS has significant experience litigating consumer and class action matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact Nick Lussier ([email protected]) or Chiharu Sekino ([email protected]). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

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Kennedy, John. "Defective Brake Class Action Continues Against Hyundai." Law 360. Last modified on October 2, 2017.

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