Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Recall Should End Lawsuit: FCA

Motion to dismiss class action lawsuit says none of the plaintiffs had problems with the minivans.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Recall Should End Lawsuit: FCA

Posted in News

— A Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid recall led to a class action lawsuit that Fiat Chrysler (FCA) argues should be dismissed.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid recall was announced in January 2023 when FCA told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about a defect that could shut down the hybrid systems.

The 2017-2023 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) recall was issued because the “internal transmission wiring connector” could short-circuit and “result in an unexpected engine shutdown under certain conditions.”

As with many automotive class action lawsuits, this minivan lawsuit was not filed until two weeks after the Pacifica Hybrid recall was announced.

Motion to Dismiss the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Recall Lawsuit

FCA first opened an investigation in August 2022 and was aware of “six customer assistance records, 242 warranty claims and 59 field reports potentially related to this issue for all markets with dates of receipt ranging from February 17, 2018, to November 1, 2022.”

Even though more than 35 owners filed the class action lawsuit for more than $5 million, Fiat Chrysler reminds the judge none of the plaintiffs claim their minivans ever suffered from the defect they sued over.

In addition, none of the plaintiffs claim they took their minivans to dealers due to the defect or because their minivans shut down from the defect.

"Here, not one of the named plaintiffs has experienced the defect they allege. At most, Plaintiffs aver “concern” over a vehicle “shutdown” condition that (i) has not ever happened to them, (ii) may not ever happen to them, and (iii) has not even caused any Plaintiff to present their vehicle to a dealership." — Chrysler's motion to dismiss

FCA also says the plaintiffs wouldn't have much information to include in their class action lawsuit if they wouldn't have taken it from the recall documents.

"Plaintiffs seek to ride the wave of a voluntary recall to collect a windfall damage award." — FCA

Though the plaintiffs insist Chrysler knew about the defect when the minivans were first sold, FCA says it isn't possible because the investigation wasn't opened until August 2022, six months after the last plaintiff purchased their vehicle.

The class action lawsuit further alleges fraud because a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid advertising brochure says the minivans have a “environmentally-friendly nature” and are equipped with “safety and security” features.

The lawsuit alleges Chrysler misrepresented the minivans in these statements, but FCA says the statements are only "nonactionable puffery."

FCA also argues the plaintiffs do not say what is false about those statements or any other, "nor do they describe any false statement they claim to have actually seen or read in connection with their purchases."

According to FCA's motion, all the plaintiffs really allege is that FCA's advertisements did not disclose a problem that it didn't discover until August 2022.

The motion to dismiss alleges the plaintiffs never specify how, where or when they heard or saw any statement Chrysler made with the intent to defraud them.

In addition, the automaker asserts the plaintiffs admit they received written warranties specifically saying their vehicles at some point may need a repair.

According to documents filed with the government about the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid recall, the automaker knew of no crashes or injuries when the Pacifica Hybrid recall was announced in January 2023.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid recall class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Southern Division): Kappes, et al., v. FCA US, LLC.

The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, and The Miller Law Firm.