— Jeep Cherokee transmission problems are being debated in court between Fiat Chrysler (FCA US) and the owner of a 2016 Jeep Cherokee equipped with a 9-speed transmission.
Plaintiff Lisa Cummings says she was driving her 2016 Jeep Cherokee as it suddenly went from 70 mph to 25 mph on the freeway, causing the tractor-trailer behind her to almost hit the SUV. The plaintiff claims just shifting the transmission from REVERSE to DRIVE can sometimes take longer than 60 seconds.
Jeep dealers allegedly say the transmissions, manufactured by ZF Friedrichshaffen AG, are shifting normally even though the plaintiff claims the 9-speed transmissions don't reliably shift gears.
According to the proposed class action, the Cherokees suffer all kinds of problems because of the 9-speed transmissions, including losing power, shifting problems, unexpected forward movements and complete failures of the transmissions.
The plaintiff alleges dealer technicians "flashed" the Cherokee in one of about eight dealer visits, but the transmission issues persisted.
Fiat Chrysler allegedly conceals the transmission problems even while Cherokee drivers complain their SUVs are having trouble, and according to the lawsuit the alleged proof of that is found in customer complaints and technical service bulletins.
Those bulletins (TSBs SB-21-013-16, 18-018-17, 18-014-16 and 21-008-17) concerned 9-speed transmissions and what dealerships should do if Cherokee drivers complained. However, the lawsuit alleges none of the bulletins did anything to solve the problems reported by customers.
FCA filed a motion to dismiss the suit and succeeded in convincing the judge a nationwide class action was out of the question.
According to the order from the judge, the plaintiff must amend the lawsuit and prove a nationwide class action is justified. If not, the lawsuit will not affect Cherokee owners outside New York.
The ruling says nationwide class claims must be dismissed because the judge dismissed the plaintiff's Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim. And that claim was dismissed because the plaintiff's claims for breach of express and implied warranties were not sufficiently pleaded.
In all, the judge dismissed claims related to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, express and implied warranties, two claims related to omission and the main claim of pursuing a nationwide class action lawsuit.
Surviving FCA's motion to dismiss are two claims concerning affirmative representations and one claim of unjust enrichment for New York Jeep Cherokee customers.
The Jeep Cherokee 9-speed transmission lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York - Lisa Cummings, et al., v. FCA US LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP.