Volkswagen CC Suspension Defect Alleged
Volkswagen CC models from model year 2010 to model year 2015 are the subject of a class action alleging that Volkswagen committed fraud in failing to advise consumers of a defect in the suspension of these vehicles that prevent them from being properly aligned. This defect allegedly leads to premature tire wear and “cupping.” As a result, consumers have had to repeatedly purchase new tires while Volkswagen dealers allegedly concealed this information from their own customers. According to the opinion of the United States District Judge:
VW complains that the “Plaintiffs’ only allegations asserting affirmative misrepresentations by [VW] involve statements printed in the owner’s manuals and warranty booklets given to purchasers of CC vehicles.” To begin with, these are not the only affirmative-misrepresentation allegations set forth in the complaint—instead the Plaintiffs have alleged a number of other false statements they contend were made, after acquiring their cars, in response to their complaints about their tires’ premature wear. Further, the Plaintiffs’ common law fraud claims are not premised solely on damages resulting from their purchase of the cars, but for retaining them as well. Similarly, the Plaintiffs’ fraud claims are also based on VW’s concealing and suppressing facts. Thus, VW’s argument that the Plaintiffs’ claims must be dismissed because they have not alleged reliance on any particular misrepresentation prior to buying their cars misses the mark.
The Court also rejected Volkswagen’s argument that the class action complaint failed to demonstrate Volkswagen’s actual knowledge of the problem:
VW also complains that the Plaintiffs’ knowledge allegations are overly vague, generic, and conclusory. After carefully reviewing the complaint, the Court disagrees. The Plaintiffs have pleaded that, “beginning in at least 2010, CC drivers began taking their cars to authorized Volkswagen dealerships to complain about improper and accelerated tire wear” and that since then “thousands of CC drivers” have done the same. They maintain that, “beginning at least as early as 2010, [VW] regional service representatives learned from [VW] dealerships that an inordinate number of CC drivers were suffering from improper and accelerated tire wear” and that dealerships were recording “orders related to CC that had suffered improper and accelerated tire wear.” The Plaintiffs also detail that, “as early as 2010, [VW] knew of the [d]efect through comments and postings . . . on NHTSA webpages [and] on webpages belonging to, or actively monitored by, [VW].” In describing the complaints from these sources, the Plaintiffs reproduced “just a sampling of the common, nationwide complaints about the [d]efect that appear on NHTSA’s database” and thirty-seven complaints from various online message boards. These complaints all refer to abnormal tire wear and many describe the problem as being the result of a defect in the car. The Court finds that taken together, these allegations, if true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the Plaintiffs’ favor, would be enough to establish VW’s notice of the defect prior to any one Plaintiff’s acquisition of his or her car.
The decision to allow the fraud claims against Volkswagen to proceed is a significant development in this case. If you own a model year 2010-2015 Volkswagen CC, you may be entitled to compensation as a result of a defective suspension causing premature tire wire.
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