— BMW soft-close automatic doors are allegedly to blame for a New York man losing his $250,000 per year income as a self-employed software engineer for his own company.
The lawsuit alleges BMW deceives the public by hiding the serious dangers of the soft-close automatic doors by advertising the alleged benefits of the systems.
According to BMW:
"In tight parking spaces or whenever a gentle closing of the door is appreciated, soft close automatic provides a helping hand: simply push the door until it is almost closed. When the door is within approximately 6 mm of the lock, a sensor activates an electric motor that pulls the door firmly and quietly closed and secures it. The components of the door locks are automatically returned to their original position."
However, the plaintiff says the doors are dangerous compared to BMW's automatic window systems that use sensors that prevent injuries when an object is between the window and the frame. The windows are allegedly made in a way that automatically reverses if the window senses an object in the way.
BMW has allegedly known about the soft-close door defects since at least 2002 based on internal testing and customer complaints but "sweeps this under the rug and intentionally conceals its hidden dangers, which one can only learn about during a moment of tragedy."
Plaintiff Godwin Boateng says he was exiting his 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Sport in July 2016 with his right hand rested on the driver’s door column with his back facing the vehicle and the door about one foot open.
According to the lawsuit, the soft-close automatic door sensor activated the electric motor to close the door and "not so softly snapped through the flesh, nerves, blood vessels, tendons, musculature, and bone structure of Boateng’s right thumb."
Boateng believes he temporarily lost consciousness when he saw half of his thumb on the floor mat of the vehicle. The plaintiff says he was transported to a hospital for emergency surgery but the damage was too severe for surgeons to reattach the amputated half of his thumb.
Boateng claims he is unable to work as a software engineer due to the limited use of his thumb and is too embarrassed to give presentations to clients as he used to do.
The plaintiff says because of his intention to work until the age of 70, he estimates his lost thumb will cost him about $3 million in lost wages.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff contacted BMW about his "grave injuries" and the automaker "masqueraded their complaint puppet responder, Jay Hanson," to arrange for the vehicle to be inspected on August 22, 2016.
The plaintiff claims BMW concluded in November 2017 there were no defects or malfunctions in the soft-close automatic door system when the vehicle was inspected. The plaintiff further says BMW denied responsibility for any damage or injuries associated with the plaintiff.
According to the lawsuit, BMW continues "to disperse and scatter their minions to deal with similar complaints" concerning the soft-close automatic doors.
BMW was sued in 2016 in a proposed class-action that alleged the soft-close automatic doors were too dangerous, but the judge dismissed the lawsuit by saying humans have been slamming their fingers in doors since doors were invented and the doors on BMW's vehicles are no exception.
In addition, BMW recalled more than 45,000 vehicles in 2017 equipped with soft-close doors, but the recall was ordered because the doors could open while driving.
The BMW soft-close automatic door lawsuit was filed in the the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York - Godwin Boateng v. BMW of North America, LLC, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by the A. Cohen Law Firm, PC.