Case Closed: Final Verdict Issued in Defective Sunroof Suit

The defective sunroof lawsuit between plaintiff Tom Kondash and defendant Kia Motors America, Inc. (Kia) has come to an end. According to the final judgement, several motions were denied that included excluding expert testimonies.

It is ordered and adjudged that Kondash’s motion to certify the lawsuit as a class action be denied. It excluded the testimony of a number of proposed experts on both sides.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew W. McFarland then noted that this case will now be closed on the Court’s docket. Last week the judge denied a class certification for the lawsuit and according to Judge McFarland’s order, Kondash failed to identify a defect that affected the vehicles he lists in his complaint.

Background

Tom Kondash, and several others, originally filed a lawsuit in July of 2015 against Kia. Kondash claimed Kia “failed to meet several demands,” which included failing to stabilize and secure the glass used in its panoramic sunroofs. In 2012 he bought a new Kia Optima from an Ohio dealership. He claims in mid-July of 2015 he was driving on the highway with his wife with the sunroof closed. They then heard a loud noise as the sunroof burst into pieces and fell onto them, causing minor injuries to his wife.

The original complaint stated several Kia models had issues with its sunroofs and more than 200 drivers had complained about having their sunroofs “shatter suddenly without warning.”

According to the original complaint, Kondash claimed Kia was aware of its inherent issues and failed to warn its customers while it continued to sell the “defected” models, which included:

  • 2011-2015 Sorrento;
  • 2011- 1025 Optima; and
  • 2011-2015 Sportage.

Kia responded by claiming its sunroofs shatter “only as a result of impacts from objects on the roadway.” The company was made aware of the issues surrounding its sunroofs following a defect investigation performed by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In May 2019, the court received a petition for a rehearing en banc. A rehearing en banc is when a case is heard before all of the judges of a court rather than by a panel of judges selected from them. According to court documents, the original panel that reviewed the petition for the rehearing found the issues raised were “fully considered upon the original submission and decision of the case.”

Last week the judge denied a class certification for the lawsuit and according to Judge McFarland’s order, Kondash failed to identify a defect that affected the vehicles he lists in his complaint.

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