Fiat Chrysler class action over Dodge Dart clutch failure resolved

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  • Fiat Chrysler reached a settlement agreement with a class of drivers who alleged that the company sold 2013-2015 model year Dodge Dart vehicles with allegedly faulty clutches.
  • The parties reached the settlement agreement about a week before a trial was due to begin, Law360 reports.
  • The class of drivers and Fiat Chrysler asked the court to give them 90 days to work out the terms of the settlement agreement.
  • Fiat Chrysler has previously made several unsuccessful attempts to dismiss the complaint or slim down the class of drivers since the class action lawsuit was filed in June 2016.

(October 21, 2019)

A Class of California drivers who purchased or leased Dodge Darts on or before November 2014 were issued a certificate of their class action lawsuit by a federal judge.

Plaintiff Carlos Victorino alleged that Chrysler failed to properly address clutch issues in 2013 to 2016 Dodge Darts with Fiat C635 transmissions.

According to the complaint, the cars are stalling, not accelerating and not getting into gear properly as a result of the problem – posing a safety risk to those in the cars and on the road.

The class action lawsuit over a Dodge manual transmission failure faced an uphill battle when it came to certifying the proposed class of owners of both new and used cars. Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the US District Court found this in the summer of 2018 the proposed class was too broad and suffered from other problems.

Judge Curiel originally rejected the proposed class, but allowed the plaintiff to resolve the issues. In its most recent ruling, the judge stated that the plaintiff had “presented evidence common to the proposed class that it intends to use to prove its claim.”

“At the trial, the plaintiff will have to prove that all vehicles in the class had a defect at the time of sale. If the plaintiff cannot prove a defect in all vehicles at the time of sale, all group claims will fail in one fell swoop,” the judge’s order continues.

According to Dodge’s manual transmission faulty class action lawsuit, Chrysler sold vehicles with a known problem; However, when it received complaints of clutch problems, the auto company responded with extended warranty offers. The complaint alleges that this weak response did not adequately mitigate the problems car owners faced after purchasing the Dart.

The defect is caused by degradation of the clutch reservoir hose, according to the class action lawsuit. Ultimately, clutch operation leads to contamination of hydraulic fluid by fibers and other substances, eventually causing clutch master and slave cylinder failure. According to the complaint, the consequences of the defect are dangerous, among other things because the clutch pedal sticks to the floor.

The extended warranty offered by Chrysler was not sufficient to resolve the issues, the plaintiff claimed. Chrysler’s solution was limited and did not solve the root cause of the failure in the first place: the contamination of the hydraulic fluid.

The class action lawsuit filed allegations of breach of warranty under California state and federal laws. They also accused Chrysler of violating the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and unfair competition laws.

After losing the original bid for certification, Dodge’s manual transmission defect class action lawsuit was amended to include a proposed class limited to those who allegedly purchased defective vehicles in California. Originally, the plaintiff had attempted to represent a nationwide class.

Do you have a Dodge Dart? Have you noticed a problem with the link?

The plaintiffs are represented by Tarek H. Zohdy, Cody R. Padgett and Trisha Monesi of Capstone Law APC.

The Dodge Manual Transmission Defect Class Action Lawsuit is Carlos Victorino, et al. v FCA US LLC, Case No. 3:16-cv-01617, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

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