A recent motion in the class action lawsuit between Bruce Pickens and defendants Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG, Saint-Gobain Sekurit (Saint Gobain), and Napleton Autowerks of Indiana, Inc. (Napleton Autowerks) seeks to put this case to rest. Defendants Napleton Autowerks recently filed a motion to dismiss Pickens’ first amended complaint or, to have all of his allegations stricken. Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) filed a similar motion to dismiss following Napleton Autowerks’ motion.
In the class action suit, Pickens alleged the German luxury auto manufacturer is at fault for misrepresenting the safety of its vehicles and states spontaneous sunroof breakage as a main factor. He also alleges Mercedes-Benz engaged in “the practice of misrepresenting the safety of the vehicles,” which resulted in harm to vehicle owners and passengers.
“Napleton also moves to dismiss plaintiff’s express warranty claims because the warranty’s unambiguous language states that MBUSA issued it—not Napleton. Napleton further moves to dismiss plaintiff’s strict liability claims because the plaintiff alleges he purchased a used car and used car dealers cannot be held strictly liable under Illinois law,” a portion of Napleton Autowerks’ motion 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.
According to Pickens, he 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. Tallie stated she heard something like a shotgun blast, which caused her to pull over to check the outside of the vehicle. She then 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.
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.
Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for more information on this suit.