Bruce Pickens has become the lead plaintiff in a class action complaint, filed in Illinois, against Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG, Saint-Gobain Sekurit (Saint Gobain), and Napleton Autowerks of Indiana, Inc. (Napleton Autowerks). In the class action complaint, Pickens alleges the German luxury auto manufacturer is at fault for misrepresenting the safety of its vehicles. He is seeking a trial by jury, legal fee compensation, along with additional financial compensation and injunctive relief.
Pickens alleges Mercedes-Benz engaged in “the practice of misrepresenting the safety of the vehicles,” which resulted in harm to vehicle owners and passengers. The harm, according to the class action complaint, is alleged to have been caused by spontaneous breakage of the sunroof.
“Plaintiff is among the millions of consumers who purchased one or more of Mercedes-Benz vehicles during the ten years preceding the filing of this complaint. Plaintiff and other similarly situated purchasers of the vehicles relied on Mercedes-Benz’s misrepresentations in purchasing the vehicles, and would not have purchased the vehicles, had facts regarding the true safety of the vehicles were disclosed,” a portion of the class action complaint reads.
The complaint alleges that the defendants failed to adequately warn against the negative effects and risks associated with Mercedes-Benz’s vehicles. According to Pickens the defendants failed to provide any warnings regarding the potential sunroof breakage.
“Defendants omitted, concealed, and inadequately provided critical safety information regarding the use of Mercedes-Benz in order to induce its purchase and use. Defendants engaged in and continued to engage in conduct likely to mislead consumers including the plaintiff. The conduct was fraudulent, unfair, and unlawful,” a portion of the class action complaint reads.
According to the class action complaint, Pickens owns a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350, which was being driven by his sister, Jawanna Tallie, on March 3, 2020 when the sunroof suddenly exploded. He states the spontaneous breakage occurred while his sister was driving 55 miles per hour on a highway on a sunny day. According to the class action complaint, Pickens’ sister heard something like a shotgun blast, which caused her to pull over to check the outside of the vehicle. Tallie was unable to find any external damage, but when she reentered the vehicle, glass allegedly fell onto her as the sunroof caved in.
The class action complaint alleges large panoramic sunroofs require exact engineering as well as precise strengthening and attachment of the glass. Mercedes allegedly failed to meet the required standards according to owners who claim the sunroofs cracked, shattered or exploded, according to the class action complaint.
“Several of Mercedes-Benz’s models have the same problem with their sunroofs. Multiple Mercedes-Benz drivers have complained that their sunroofs exploded, shattered, and/or cracked without warning,” a portion of the class action complaint reads. “This is a serious safety concern, as the shattering of the sunroofs often occurs while the car is being driven, and shards of glass fall on and around the occupants.”
According to Pickens, customers say they were dangerously distracted when the sunroofs exploded, yet Mercedes-Benz allegedly refuses to recall the vehicles. In addition, after receiving multiple complaints from Mercedes-Benz owners the automaker allegedly offers $250 to $500 as good faith gestures as long as the customers agree not to sue. According to the class action complaint, replacing the panoramic sunroof can cost up to $2,000, but Pickens claims he was quoted a price of $9,000 to replace his sunroof.
Due to the allegations mentioned in Pickens’ class action complaint, he is seeking a trial by jury. As of press time none of the defendants have responded to glassBYTEs’ request for comment on the complaint. Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for more information on this suit.