Subaru Asks Judge to Dismiss Class Action Suit

Subaru of America Inc. (Subaru) recently requested the class action lawsuit, originally filed by Christine Powell against the auto manufacturer for allegedly defective windshields, be dismissed for failing to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction. Last month 15 new plaintiffs were added to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges Subaru was “manufacturing, marketing and selling new vehicles with defective and dangerous windshields that were spontaneously and/or unreasonably cracking, chipping and otherwise breaking.” According to Subaru’s dismissal brief, the drivers can’t sue over models they didn’t drive. The plaintiffs, according to court documents, have stated the auto manufacturer failed to inform them of the alleged dangerous defect and refused to cover the replacement cost. Subaru, however has stated the claims “fail as a matter of law due in part to the overly broad class.”

“This consolidated action now concerns a putative class of approximately 2.5 million vehicles comprising five vehicle models, crossing multiple design generations, and involving multiple windshield suppliers. Although the plaintiffs allege numerous complaints to third parties regarding windshields, that is simply an artifact of plaintiffs’ overly broad class. Those complaints represent less than .001% of the putative class. Plaintiffs lack standing to bring claims on behalf of those vehicles they have not owned or leased,” a portion of Subaru’s dismissal brief reads.

According to the plaintiffs consolidated complaint, the vehicles represented in the case include 2017-2020 Subaru Forester, 2017-2020 Subaru Outback, 2017-2020 Subaru Crosstrek, 2017-2020 Subaru Legacy and 2017-2020 Subaru Impreza vehicles (collectively known as class vehicles). The plaintiffs are seeking replacement windshields and reimbursements for their repair costs, or for Subaru to buy their cars back, according to the consolidated complaint. Subaru stated, in its dismissal brief, no plaintiff has ever purchased, leased, or owned a: Legacy of any model year; any 2017 Crosstrek, Forester, or Impreza; any 2019 Impreza; or any 2020 Crosstrek, Forester, or Impreza.

The plaintiffs also claimed their vehicle glass “spontaneously shattered shortly after purchasing or leasing their Subaru,” and stated a design defect was the reason. According to the consolidated complaint, class action members stated the alleged defect should be covered in their vehicle warranty. Subaru disagreed with that statement.

“Plaintiffs premise their express warranty claims solely upon an alleged design defect. It is now well-settled that express warranties covering materials and workmanship—such as Subaru’s warranty here—do not cover design defects,” a portion of the dismissal brief reads.

The presiding judge has yet to file a response to Subaru’s dismissal brief. Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for more information on this suit.

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