Subaru of America (SOA) has asked the U.S. District Court in Northern California to dismiss a lawsuit seeking class action status on claims of alleged spontaneous windshield breakage. The June 1 lawsuit was brought forth by Lucia Luong, alleging the windshields of 2015 through 2016 Subaru Outback and Legacy vehicles “contain one or more design and/or manufacturing defects that cause the windshield to crack, chip and/or fracture.”
Luong is an owner of a 2015 Outback, which was purchased new during that year. She claims that in March 2017, she noticed a crack had “spontaneously appeared” from the base of the windshield, with no visible point of impact. According to the lawsuit, she was denied warranty coverage, and the replacement windshield she received suffered from the same defect.
“This case is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. Plaintiff got a crack in her windshield after owning her vehicle for a couple of years, and she is dissatisfied because the dealer would not fix it for free,” SOA’s attorneys claim. “Plaintiff and her counsel have taken an individual warranty claim worth less than $1,000 and gone nuclear with it, attempting to plead a full-blown class action lawsuit, alleging that all windshields in all model year 2015 and 2016 Subaru Outback … and Legacy … vehicles are defective because they ‘crack, chip and/or fracture’ ‘for no reason at all’ ….”
In Luong’s initial complaint, her attorney cites pages worth of consumer complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the issue. However, in 2015, SOA extended its windshield warranty in an attempt to remedy the situation, and cited the wiper park heater as the culprit. It also noted the glass was manufactured by Carlex.
“Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Plaintiff’s claim derives from SOA’s voluntary decision to extend the New Vehicle Limited Warranty (‘NVLW’) for windshields in certain Outback and Legacy vehicles …,” the document reads. “Under this ‘Warranty Extension,’ customers receive a replacement windshield at no charge (or obtained reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs already paid) if the deicer area of the windshield … became damaged.”
According to the company, it provided notice to all owners of affected vehicles, and Luong’s damage did not fall under the warranty.
SOA urged the court to dismiss the case or strike certain allegations made against them for several reasons.
First, SOA claims the court does not have general personal jurisdiction over them, as the company is incorporated in New Jersey, with its principal place of business there as well. The company also argues that the court does not have specific personal jurisdiction over SOA for the proposed class members who are not residents of California.
Attorneys for the company also argued that Luong’s claims that SOA didn’t tell consumers about the alleged windshield defect, are untrue. According to the company, they not only disclosed the information but also provided a remedy.
“Moreover, she cannot obtain monetary relief because SOA made an ‘appropriate correction, repair or replacement’ of the issue about which Plaintiff complains. An appropriate and timely correction offer includes an offer of repair,” the court document reads.
A motion hearing has been set for September 12, 2017.