GM Lifter Failure Lawsuit: 17 Plaintiffs Sent to Arbitration

Judge rules 17 plaintiffs who sued signed clear arbitration agreements when buying the vehicles.

GM Lifter Failure Lawsuit: 17 Plaintiffs Sent to Arbitration

Posted in News

— A General Motors class action lawsuit is minus 17 plaintiffs, for now, after a federal judge granted some of GM's motion to compel arbitration.

The GM lifter failure lawsuit now includes 42 plaintiffs who purchased these used or new 2014-2021 General Motors vehicles equipped with valvetrains that allegedly malfunction.

  • 2014-2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CTS-V
  • 2014-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2014-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2014-2019 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 2014-2016 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2014-2021 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2014-2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2016-2021 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2014-2021 Chevrolet Camaro SS
  • 2014-2016 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 2014 to 2021 GMC Sierra
  • 2014 to 2021 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2014-2021 GMC Yukon
  • 2014-2021 Yukon XL

According to the class action lawsuit, the vehicles are equipped with active fuel management lifters. The photo above shows AFM lifters on the left, regular lifters on the right and the plastic lifter guides on the top.

The lawsuit says the valvetrain system controls when the intake valves and the exhaust valves open and close in a GM engine.

The plaintiffs say the rocker arms shed needle bearings which causes the arms to move out of rhythm with the rest of the valvetrain. And the valve springs allegedly break down and fail prematurely so they are unable to hold the combustion chamber closed.

Then there are the alleged problems with the lifters that allegedly get stuck or collapse.

The GM class action alleges owners hear the engines chirp, squeak or tick when the vehicles are not idling. And the lawsuit alleges the engine will eventually misfire when the valves fail to open and close at the right time. This allegedly causes the GM vehicles to lose power, surge or stall.

GM Lifter Failure Lawsuit: Arbitration

GM filed a motion to compel 20 plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims because those vehicle owners allegedly signed valid arbitration clauses.

Judge Laurie J. Michelson granted GM's motion to compel arbitration, but only for 17 plaintiffs.

"The claims on behalf of the 17 plaintiffs who have a delegation clause in their arbitration agreement are stayed pending arbitration. As for the three remaining Plaintiffs, the Court finds that GM may not compel them to submit their claims to arbitration." — Judge Michelson

The 17 plaintiffs don't contest they agreed to arbitration, but they argue the delegation clauses cannot be enforced because the agreements were made with General Motors dealerships, not GM directly.

According to the judge, the plaintiffs are correct the arbitration agreements were made with GM dealerships. But the judge found that fact only gets the plaintiffs so far based on precedent from the Sixth Circuit.

According to the judge, "GM has shown by clear and unmistakable evidence" that 17 of the plaintiffs agreed to arbitrate their claims with an arbitrator.

The GM lifter failure class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: Harrison, et al., v. General Motors LLC.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Miller Law Firm, P.C., Berger Montague, Capstone Law APC, and Gordon & Partners, P.A.