A lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of America (VW) will continue, as a California federal court judge ruled against VW’s motion to dismiss “certain claims” in the plaintiff’s second complaint. The judge also stated there is enough supporting evidence alleging the carmaker had prior knowledge about a defect that causes its sunroofs to explode spontaneously. The official announcement was made in court last month.
The original complaint was filed in 2017 against the German automotive company. It claimed certain models from VW had a defect in its sunroofs and that the company was aware of it. According to court documents, the models impacted included the Jetta, Golf and Passat. Rosaura Deras stated she leased a new Jetta in 2013, purchased it in 2016 and was driving normally when she heard “a loud boom” and noticed the sunroof had shattered.
“Ms. Deras noticed that there was a large hole in the center of her [sunroof], and the edges were pointing outward/upward indicating that the break came from the inside,” a portion of the complaint reads.
After the judge stated the plaintiffs did not have enough sufficient evidence to argue the vehicle maker was aware of the inherent defect to continue further court proceedings, the plaintiffs argued VW knew about its issues following a number of recalls made warning vehicle owners and preparing shop owners.
In response to the judge’s statement, the plaintiffs alleged VW was aware of the issues years prior through its involvement with a South Korean investigation that included the company’s panoramic sunroofs. The investigation concluded VW was allegedly aware and continued to sell the models that were at a higher risk of having the defect.
“In December 2012, KATRI, which is the South Korean government’s automotive safety and testing arm, launched an investigation into shattering sunroofs of numerous automotive manufacturers. Throughout KATRI’s investigation, VW and other manufacturers were kept apprised and KATRI ultimately concluded that the panoramic sunroofs were prone to spontaneous shattering. Over ensuing years, VW was notified and kept apprised of KATRI’s investigation through direct contact as well as through various trade organizations of which VW was a member. At a hearing in November 2013 before Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT), KATRI presented its findings and allowed automakers to respond. Representatives from VW as well as other manufacturers were present at this meeting. According to KATRI, its investigation confirmed that the panoramic sunroofs are prone to shattering,” a portion of court documents reads.
The case continues March 20, 2019.