Two BMW owners have voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the automaker without prejudice in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, after BMW gave notice of a second, similar case filed in California. The original lawsuit alleged the sunroof in several BMW models are defectively designed, which allows water to come in and cause damage.
Attorneys for Walter Chang and Annie Stubbs filed the dismissal after BMW gave notice of a similar putative class action that has been filed against the company in the U.S. Central California District Court.
The related case is Monita Sharma and Eric Anderson versus BMW North America.
“The amended complaint filed in Chang on July 1, 2013, makes plain that the named plaintiffs in Sharma and the named plaintiffs in this case seek to represent overlapping California classes of owners and lessees of certain BMW vehicles,” BMW attorneys write in the court documents.
“BMW North America is the named defendant in each case and each of the named plaintiffs and putative-plaintiff classes seeks to recover damages to a purported ‘defect’ causing their vehicles’ sunroofs to leak,” they continued.
The attorneys went on to write that the second case, which is filed in the Northern District of California should be transferred to Central District of the same state for consolidation.
“This would avoid conflicting rulings and judgments, conserve resources and promote an efficient determination of the action,” attorneys claim.
Shortly after this notice was given, the plaintiffs responded by filing voluntary dismissal without prejudice, which leaves the door open for this case to be reopened.
Attorneys for Chang and Stubbs alleged that the defective sunroofs were a safety hazard due to potential flooding. They claimed the cost to repair the sunroofs is “exorbitant.” They had demanded a jury trial and sought reimbursement as well as compensatory, exemplary and statutory damages, including interest. They also sought class action status for owners in Florida and California.
In the second case filed in the Northern District of California, Monita Sharma and Eric Anderson filed a California class action lawsuit against BMW.
Their attorneys claim, “BMW designed, manufactured, distributed, sold, and leased various makes and models of BMW vehicles that contain a serious design defect that significantly impacts both the safety and value of its vehicles. Specifically, numerous models of BMW vehicles manufactured during the class period were designed so that certain vital electrical components known as SDARS, RDC, and PDC modules, are located in the lowest part of the vehicles’ trunk. … Because BMW decided to place these vital electrical components in what is essentially the lowest part of the vehicle (the spare tire well under the trunk), they are especially prone to water damage that can be caused through the normal and ordinary use of the vehicle.
“When this water damage occurs, the vehicles become inoperable and pose a serious safety risk to those who experience this problem. Although these components are highly susceptible to water damage, BMW provides no warnings or advisories to BMW owners about the location of this vital equipment or the importance of keeping the vehicle’s trunk compartment free of liquids,” they continue.
The attorneys point out that drainage tubes are installed to pull water away from the sunroof.
“Unfortunately, these sunroof drains were designed in such a way that they are prone to become clogged with dirt, debris, leaves, and other naturally-occurring materials. When these tubes become clogged, they come loose or leak into the trunks of the vehicles. These leaks, which eventually flood the trunks of the vehicles, cause the vital electronic components contained at the bottom of the vehicles’ trunks to short-shutting off certain components of the automobile necessary for driving and creating a potential safety risk,” the attorneys allege.
Both plaintiffs are California residents. Sharma and her husband purchased a 2008 BMW X5 from Weatherford BMW in San Pedro, Calif., in May 2009.
“In late-2012 and early-2013, Sharma began to experience a series of electrical problems related to water infiltration and accumulation in or around the electronic components
After taking her car to the local BMW dealership to address these electrical issues, the dealership found moisture around the electronic modules located in the trunk and inspected the sun roof drains in her car. Sharma paid close to $600 to the BMW dealership to inspect, diagnose and address these problems,” the attorneys explain.
Further, they write, “On or around January 15, 2013, Sharma was traveling on the freeway in her BMW vehicle with her two small children in the car. While driving at freeway speeds in traffic, suddenly, without warning, power in her car completely shut down while she was moving at highway speeds from 55 mph to 65 mph.
“… Sharma and her children could have been involved in a serious accident,” her attorneys allege. “It took Sharma several days to regain her composure following this incident and she is terrified that her car could fail again at any time while driving, particularly with her children in the car.
“… The BMW dealership determined that the January 15, 2013 incident was caused by a catastrophic electrical malfunction that occurred when water accumulated around the electronic modules in the trunk of her vehicle. As part of the same inspection, the dealership determined that the rear sunroof drains of her vehicle were clogged and had caused the right and left pockets of the trunk space to flood,” her attorneys claim.
BMW did not reimburse Sharma for the amount she paid to fix her vehicle.
On March 12, 2010, Anderson purchased a certified pre-owned 2007 BMW E60 530I with a panoramic sunroof from Crevier BMW of Santa Ana, Calif.
“Two years after purchasing the vehicle, Anderson parked his car in front of his home, as was his normal practice. After several hours, it began to rain and water, which should have drained off of the roof through the panoramic sunroof’s drain tubes, wept into the car’s trunk because of a common defect in the design of the sunroof drain pipes,” attorneys allege in court documents.
“Anderson experienced difficulties with some of the car’s electronic components, expressed as a failure to start,” attorneys claim. “He took his automobile to BMW of Monrovia in Monrovia, California, where they informed him of the pooling water in his trunk, and that they would repair the problem, but refused to cover the work under the certified, pre-owned warranty.”
“Anderson contacted BMW of North America and was informed that, despite the fact that his car was covered under the Certified Pre-Owned six-year/100,000-mile Warranty, BMW would not cover nor issue him a refund for the repairs under the warranty,” his attorneys allege.
The attorneys claim “BMW knew that the defective design of the class vehicles were causing substantial problems” but “has systematically refused to pay for repairs.”
Anderson says he paid more than $2,000 to have his car repaired.
Attorneys say the class should include California residents who have “owned or leased any BMW X5 series vehicles, X3 series vehicles and 5 series vehicles.”
Plaintiffs are seeking class action certification, reimbursement from BMW for repairs, restitution, attorney costs as well as interest. Attorneys demand a trial by jury.