Hyundai Squabbles Over Schedule in Sunroof Lawsuit

The U.S. District Court of California has set a May 1, 2017, deadline for expert reports or declarations in support of class certification to be delivered to the court in a lawsuit over spontaneously shattering Hyundai sunroofs.

In a lawsuit filed against Hyundai in December 2015, Alabama resident Billy Glenn alleged that the panoramic sunroof of his 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport spontaneously shattered, sending glass shards onto him and his family while driving.

Glenn alleged that Hyundai and the dealership did not cover the cost of repair, forcing Glenn to pay a $100 deductible with his insurance, and again less than a month later when the replacement panoramic sunroof shattered a second time.

He further claimed that Hyundai had known about the alleged defect since 2012. He named all 2011 to 2016 Sonata, Tucson and Veloster models and all Elantra GT, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport vehicles manufactured from 2013 to 2016 as having the same issue.

Most of the lawsuit was dropped, but Glenn was able to continue the suit on the allegation of fraud. Hyundai issued a response to the complaint in December 2016.

Hyundai alleged that Glenn is attempting to unfairly extend the deadlines for expert disclosures and class certification briefings. The company said that the schedule was jointly submitted in August 2016, leaving Glenn plenty of time to prepare and request any changes. The company said Glenn waited 12 days before their expert reports were due on April 3, 2017 to request an extension, even though Hyundai offered to extend the deadline by three weeks.

“We do not agree to plaintiffs’ proposed extension of the deadlines in this case. There should be no confusion about the schedule for class certification in this case, which all the parties agreed to and jointly submitted to the Court last August in their Rule 26(f) report. We have been working diligently to meet the agreed-upon deadlines, and you have shown no good cause for deviating from those deadlines. Indeed, you did not bring up this issue until last week, approximately 10 days before your expert reports are due,” Hyundai’s attorney wrote in an email.

Glenn’s attorney said that it has taken a substantial amount of time to go through the documents Hyundai provided, some of which needed to be translated from Korean. He further stated that the most recent documents Hyundai provided were 12,000 pages in length, further stating that this has affected discovery efforts relating to class-certification-related expert disclosures.

“Defendants seek a stipulation to set a certification schedule such that Plaintiffs’ expert disclosures would be due April 24, 2017. Plaintiffs responded by email to let Defendants know that while they agree that both sides should have the opportunity to conduct necessary depositions, Plaintiffs are not willing to stipulate to a deadline of April 24 for their expert disclosures when, among other things, the depositions of both Defendant Hyundai entities are not scheduled to be held until weeks later,” Glenn’s attorney said in his declaration.

“In light of the fact that the Scheduling Order is unclear and perhaps even misleading on this point, the court will grant an extension of the time for parties to identify experts and serve expert reports, and will reset other dates in accord with those adjustments,” the court ruled.

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