— A Honda CR-V gas fumes lawsuit won't be certified as a nationwide class-action suit after a federal judge dismissed some claims against Honda from owners who say they get sick from the fumes.
The plaintiffs say they purchased 2015-2017 Honda CR-V SUVs from dealerships, but within months the cabins started to smell like open pools of gasoline.
The smells persisted no matter what speed the CR-Vs were traveling and the fumes were allegedly overpowering if the windows were closed. The problem allegedly gets so bad the plaintiffs say they can't drive the SUVs.
According to the lawsuit, Honda markets the SUVs nationwide as safe and reliable and covered by a “New Vehicle Limited Warranty” where Honda will repair or replace, free of charge, any part that is defective in material or workmanship under normal use for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Honda allegedly knew when the CR-Vs were sold that the gasoline odors existed but couldn't find the cause and therefore couldn't fix the problem. To continue selling the SUVs, the automaker allegedly concealed the problems and wouldn't admit fault even if owners specifically asked about the gas odors.
Owners in the U.S. and Canada have complained about the fumes and the alleged difficulty in convincing Honda to take action.
"Shortly after taking over the vehicle we noticed a strong fuel smell entering the cabin when the car was idling. Once we starting driving, the smell disappeared. What is unfortunate is that Honda Canada has informed me that no "safety issue" is present at the moment and therefore have not offered a loaner vehicle while they "search for a fix". Apparently, and according to Honda's response to my inquiry, fuel vapour inhalation by the vehicles occupants is deemed safe by their standards." - 2015 Honda CR-V owner / Winnipeg, Canada
A Wisconsin owner of a 2016 CR-V complained they tried everything to get Honda to listen to them about the gas fumes but the automaker allegedly had no concerns.
"During the first 2 months of ownership my husband and I experienced gas fumes in the cabin of the vehicle several times while driving and idling. At first we thought it was from the vehicle in front of us or maybe a gas puddle we drove over because after all.... "we have a brand new Honda CRV that would not do this". We then finally realized it was our CRV causing the very bad, take your breath away gas fumes. Our garage never smells of gas."
The owner says they went through six dealership visits and mediation with Honda, but the mediation did no good.
"In the end the statement we were left with from Honda's representative during arbitration was, "We do not know what your driving habits are". They essentially were blaming us! It ended with no concern on Honda's part for our health and safety. You must also know Honda hires and pays for the arbitration to be performed by a private company. That is all I can say about that!"
Honda sought to have the entire CR-V gas fumes lawsuit dismissed, and the judge did dismiss some of the 10 counts the automaker wanted done away with.
The federal judge ruled claims involving two plaintiffs from Indiana were dismissed because the law requires a customer to provide written notice to a company about the allegations, but the plaintiffs couldn't show they ever did that.
The plaintiffs also brought claims against Honda based on violations of the California Commercial Code and California’s Business and Professional Code, but the judge said that won't fly because none of the plaintiffs are from California and none purchased their vehicles in the state.
The judge also said consumer fraud claims for plaintiffs from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Maryland can continue even though Honda argued the plaintiffs failed to meet the pleading requirements by not providing the names of those who participated in the alleged fraud.
In addition to not providing names, Honda says the plaintiffs also couldn't show what capacity those people were involved or what representations were made. The judge ruled against Honda by saying the plaintiffs did a good enough job in providing a general outline of the alleged fraud.
In denying a nationwide class of consumers, Judge Robert W. Gettleman says the law of the state where each plaintiff purchased their CR-V will be applied to the plaintiff’s claims because applying the warranty, unjust enrichment and misrepresentation laws of 50 different states is "unmanageable on a class-wide basis because those state laws may conflict in material ways."
The judge says applying those claims on even the four states that the named plaintiffs represent is unmanageable.
The Honda CR-V gas fumes lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division - Miles, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
The drivers are represented by Stoltmann Law Offices PC.