Product Liability Law Firm Files Suit
On April 30, 2021, a class-action lawsuit was filed in New Jersey District Court against Volkswagen AG (d/b/a Audi of America) by a product liability law firm. The lawsuit, filed by Berger Montague PC under the case name Jeni Rieger v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al, alleges that the automaker sold certain models with defective engines from 2012 to 2017. The lawsuit defines the Class as those in the United States who purchased or leased any 2012-2017 Audi vehicle with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
Failure to Disclose Expensive Out-of-Pocket Costs For the Consumer
The lawsuit cites that the defendants failed to disclose material facts and a safety concern to consumers. The complaint states that Volkswagen wrongfully and intentionally concealed a defect in the design, manufacture, and or workmanship of the pistons/piston heads (“Piston Defect”) of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and that the piston defect can cause the pistons and the engine itself to fail at any time. The complaint describes the piston defect as defects wherein the pistons, piston rings, and or piston heads cannot withstand the heat and pressure of the engine resulting in a crack, fracture, or splinter. If the piston defect does not cause the engine to fail, it leads to the engine consuming an excess amount of oil. Both issues result in expensive out-of-pocket costs to the consumer to repair or replace damaged parts of the engine, or the entire engine.
The Safety Risk to the Consumer
In addition to the out-of-pocket costs to consumers, the lawsuit further alleges that the piston defect poses a safety risk. For example, if a piston or pistons suddenly and unexpectedly fail, the vehicles immediately lose power. As a result, a sudden power loss poses a clear-cut safety risk and can prevent a driver from accelerating, maintaining speed, controlling the steering wheel, and engaging the brakes. This loss of power is clearly a safety risk.
Automotive Damages to the Powertrain
In addition to safety concerns, the lawsuit further claims that the piston defect causes substantial damage to the class vehicles in as much as piston shards may circulate throughout the engine and destroy critical components throughout the powertrain.
The lawsuit brings forth six causes of action:
- Violation of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act
- Breach of Implied Warranty Pursuant to Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act
- Violation of California Business & Professionals Code 17200
- Breach of Express Warranty
- The breach of Express Warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
- Breach of Implied Warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
The lawsuit filed by the product liability law firm seeks relief in the form of:
- An order certifying the proposed Class and Subclasses;
- A declaration that Defendants are financially responsible for notifying all Class Members about the defective nature of the 2.0 Turbo engine;
- An order compelling Defendants to issue a voluntary recall for the Class Vehicles which prohibits Defendants from deceptive distribution, sales, and lease practices with respect to Class Vehicles;
- A declaration requiring Defendants to comply with the various provisions of the Song-Beverly Act;
- An award to Plaintiff and the Class for compensatory, exemplary, and statutory damages, including interest, in an amount to be proven at trial;
- Any and all remedies provided pursuant to the Song-Beverly Act;
- Any and all remedies provided pursuant to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act;
- A declaration that Defendants must disgorge, for the benefit of the Class, all or part of the ill-gotten profits it received from the sale or lease of its Class Vehicles or make full restitution to Plaintiff and Class Members;
- An award for attorneys’ fees and costs;
- An award of prejudgment and post-judgment interest;
- Leave to amend the Complaint to conform to the evidence produced at trial; and
- Such other relief as may be appropriate under the circumstances.