GM Class Action Lawsuit Over Fuse Blocks Dismissed

Buick owner alleges Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Acadia and Traverse vehicles are defective.

GM Class Action Lawsuit Over Fuse Blocks Dismissed

Posted in News

— A General Motors class action lawsuit has been dismissed after the owner of a 2014 Buick Enclave alleged a defective fuse block caused her SUV to suddenly lose power. The lawsuit says the fuse block terminals allegedly fail to maintain enough tension in these GM models.

  • 2013-2017 Buick Enclave
  • 2013-2017 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2013-2016 Chevrolet Acadia
  • 2017 Chevrolet Acadia Limited

The plaintiff who filed the GM class action lawsuit purchased a used 2014 Buick Enclave in December 2016 from a California dealership. The vehicle had 70,657 miles on the odometer and was still covered by portions of the factory warranty.

The plaintiff says when the Enclave had nearly 90,000 miles on it, the SUV lost power about five times while in motion and triggered the stability and traction control warning, causing the plaintiff to pull over and restart the SUV.

The dealership allegedly “identified Fault Code P1682, and found that the fuse block ignition bus, also known as both Terminal 51 and the Engine Relay, was loose.”

The lawsuit alleges the dealer reinstalled and secured the engine bay fuse block, but the class action says the repair didn't work and the SUV was returned to the dealership.

This time technicians said the fuse block was defective and it was replaced. But the plaintiff says she had to pay for the repairs.

According to the class action lawsuit, the engine bay fuse block is located on the passenger-side under the hood and is used to control electrical energy throughout the vehicle.

A relay plugs into the fuse block “like a power cord plugs into a power outlet in the wall of a home," but there must be adequate tension so the relay’s metal prongs fit tightly into the fuse block.

The lawsuit says a fuse block should last the life of the GM vehicle, but a loose relay can kill the vehicle and cause “the loss of acceleration, the loss of power steering, the loss of power brakes, and several other very unsafe conditions.”

Motion to Dismiss the GM Class Action Lawsuit

In a motion to dismiss the GM class action lawsuit, the automaker argues the plaintiff fails to allege a causal connection between the problems in her Enclave and the specific defect named in the class action. Specifically, the class action alleges “poor terminal tension in terminal 51 as described in [the February 2019 service] bulletin.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims the first repair to her Enclave “involved reconnecting the loose ‘ignition bus,’ not terminal 51,” and GM says the plaintiff “alleges no facts to show that terminal 51 was the reason [the fuse block was replaced in the second repair], as opposed to some other reason.”

This, according to GM, means the plaintiff fails to allege GM had knowledge of the alleged fuse block defect in terminal 51.

As for service bulletins GM issued to dealerships about the fuse blocks, the automaker argues the only bulletins related to issues with terminal 51 were published in 2018 and 2019, years after the plaintiff purchased her Enclave.

General Motors also alleges some service bulletins concern vehicles that don't share the same fuse block design.

In dismissing the GM class action lawsuit, the judge ruled the plaintiff fails to allege facts which support that GM was aware of any fuse block defects predating the sale of the vehicles listed in the lawsuit.

The judge also ruled the plaintiff fails to allege the window sticker did not include any required disclosure and she doesn't allege she relied on "any other advertisement, representation or other offer from GM that failed to include any required disclosure."

Although the plaintiff alleges General Motors didn't provide information about the fuse block defects, the judge found problems with that argument.

"The plaintiff fails to 'describe [with specificity] the content of the omission and where the omitted information should or could have been revealed as well as . . . [the content of] advertisements, offers, or other representations that plaintiff relied on to make her purchase and that failed to include the allegedly omitted information.'" Judge William Q. Hayes

Additionally, the judge says the plaintiff fails to offer sufficient facts to support the claim that the class has more than 100 members and that the amount in controversy exceeds the mandatory $5 million.

In dismissing the lawsuit, the judge concluded the plaintiff didn't meet "her burden to demonstrate that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction."

The GM class action lawsuit relating to fuse block problems was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California: Casey, v. General Motors, LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by the Law Office of Robert Starr.