— A Hyundai Santa Fe class action lawsuit has been dismissed after the plaintiff failed to convince the judge there are powertrain defects that cause acceleration and hesitation problems in 2017-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs or 2017-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sports.
The plaintiff who sued alleges Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs suffer from delayed acceleration, rough shifting and a loss of power that causes hesitation on acceleration.
The class action lawsuit says Hyundai should buy back the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport SUVs because dealers are unable to correctly repair the vehicles.
The judge had already partly dismissed the lawsuit in 2019 when she ruled the plaintiff lacked standing to assert claims regarding the 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport 2.0T and Santa Fe Sport 3.3L vehicles because the plaintiff never owned or leased these vehicles.
The judge also dismissed the California state law claims and New Jersey state law claims, with the exception of claims for breach of express and implied warranties. The plaintiff was also given leave to amend his claims that Hyundai violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA), and for negligent misrepresentation.
In addition, the judge ruled that because the plaintiff's home state has the most significant relationship with the lawsuit, the laws of New Jersey, as opposed to California, are applicable. This means all of the nationwide claims under California law are dismissed.
The judge also found problems with the argument Hyundai knew about powertrain defects based on consumer complaints made about the Santa Fe SUVs. The judge ruled the complaints are general allegations that fail to prove Hyundai knew about possible powertrain problems prior to October 2016.
According to the lawsuit, Hyundai was involved in a previous class action lawsuit about the same Santa Fe powertrain defects. But the judge found that lawsuit wasn't the same because the previous class action concerned a stalling problem that caused power steering and brake loss.
That's different than the Santa Fe class action that alleges the vehicles suffer from slowed or failed vehicle acceleration response. In addition, the previous lawsuit concerned 2010-2012 SUVs, years younger than the Santa Fe SUVs named in the powertrain class action.
The judge also had problems with the plaintiff arguing Hyundai knew about possible powertrain problems based on 25 customer complaints on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But the judge found more than half the complaints were filed after October 2016, the date which the plaintiff leased his vehicle.
The judge ruled the plaintiff cannot depend on events which post-date his lease to establish Hyundai was aware of the alleged powertrain defect.
The Santa Fe class action was completely dismissed when the judge also saw problems with the argument that alleges technical service bulletins (TSBs) prove Hyundai knew about alleged hesitation and acceleration problems.
As an example, the judge found a bulletin from 2016 concerned the 3.3-liter 2017 Santa Fe, but the plaintiff sued over the 2.4-liter model.
The Hyundai Santa Fe class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey - Schechter, et. al., v. Hyundai Motor America, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Bursor & Fisher.