— A Chevy Corvette cracked rims lawsuit has been dismissed after the car owner failed to convince a federal judge the wheels were defective from the time the Corvettes were sold.
The California plaintiff purchased a new 2018 Chevrolet Corvette from a General Motors dealer, but upon the purchase he took the car directly to a third-party auto shop. At the shop, a third-party wheel finisher picked up the rims to have them coated.
The wheel finisher recorded a video which allegedly showed the Corvette rims were bent. The plaintiff says he had to pay $7,500 to replace the wheels, so he complained to his GM dealer and asked that the rims be covered under the warranty.
The GM dealer allegedly told the plaintiff the rims were warped because of his driving and that no repairs would be covered by the warranty. The Corvette owner says he kept complaining and GM finally agreed to pay $1,200 of the $7,500.
According to the Corvette cracked rims class action lawsuit, 2015-present Chevy Corvette Z06 and 2017-present Corvette Grand Sport cars are equipped with rims that crack, bend and warp. The plaintiff claims GM has known about the alleged problem but conceals information as Corvette drivers continue to file complaints.
GM Files Motion to Dismiss the Corvette Cracked Rims Lawsuit
In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, General Motors first attacks the breach of express warranty claim by arguing the plaintiff never stated a plausible claim.
According to the Corvette owner, GM sold and leased cars “with wheels that were defective, requiring repair or replacement within the warranty period, and refusing to honor the express warranty by repairing or replacing, free of charge, the wheels.”
However, the judge agreed with GM by ruling the owner failed to allege any defect in materials or workmanship, as opposed to a defect in the design.
The warranty applies to “any vehicle defect, not slight noise, vibrations, or other normal characteristics of the vehicle due to materials or workmanship during the warranty period.” But GM argued the phrase, “due to materials or workmanship” clarifies what defects are covered.
According to the judge, the warranty applies to any defect due to materials or workmanship during the warranty period, but not to defects involving "slight noise, vibrations, or other normal characteristics of the vehicle."
To state a claim for breach of express warranty, the plaintiff must allege the defect is due to materials or workmanship. However, the plaintiff does not allege any defect in materials or workmanship but rather alleges the “wheels suffered from an inherent defect . . . [and] were defectively designed.”
The judge also said the warranty requires a customer to take the vehicle “to a Chevrolet dealer facility within the warranty period and request[ed] the needed repairs.” Instead, the Corvette owner alleges he had a third-party repair the rims and then he contacted GM about getting reimbursed.
Judge Cormac J. Carney also dismissed a breach of implied warranty claim related to the Song-Beverly Act. According to the judge, to state a claim under the Song-Beverly Act, “a plaintiff must allege a fundamental defect that renders the product unfit for its ordinary purpose.”
However, the Corvette owner failed to allege his car suffered a "persistent defect that could not be addressed through repair or replacement of an isolated component."
The judge said the plaintiff didn't allege he had any more problems with the wheels after they were replaced, other than when the owner said GM replaced his wheels with “similarly defective wheels.” The judge found this argument contradicts the owner's allegations that a third-party wheel finisher, not GM, replaced his wheels.
Judge Carney also dismissed remaining claims concerning deceptive practices and fraud which require the plaintiff allege General Motors had pre-purchase knowledge of the alleged Corvette rim defects.
"To successfully allege a manufacturer was aware of a defect, a plaintiff is typically required to allege how the defendant obtained knowledge of a specific defect prior to the plaintiff’s purchase of the defective product." - Judge Carney
According to the Corvette owner, GM must have known about cracked wheels based on complaints made to the government and other forums.
But the judge found 30 of the complaints were filed after the plaintiff purchased his Corvette. This leaves only 11 customer complaints made before his purchase, and even a number of those suggest the rims cracked due to driver errors or road conditions.
The Chevrolet Corvette cracked rims lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Nardizzi, et al., v. General Motors LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by Capstone Law.