Volvo Tries to Stop Defect Lawsuit

Volvo Cars of North America LLC and Volvo Car Corporation (collectively Volvo) fought back in Federal Court against a renewed motion for class certification in its ongoing legal battle centered on alleged defective sunroofs for select models that has gone on for more than a decade, according to court documents.

The class action suit was filed on behalf of a number of Plaintiffs, against the defendant Volvo.

Volvo’s attorneys note that the New Jersey Federal Court and the Third Circuit have repeatedly rejected the Plaintiffs’ certification efforts for “failure to satisfy predominance, ascertainability, and (most recently) numerosity requirements over the past decade.” Volvo says the Plaintiffs have yet to prove they have all of the requirements to continue the lawsuit.

The Plaintiffs’ fifth renewed motion seeks to certify two subclasses in California, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey. One consists of those who purchased certain model and model year vehicles from a Volvo dealership and who still own the vehicles as of an unspecified future date tied to a class certification order.

“But because membership is determined at some future point in time, Plaintiffs cannot establish numerosity [a numerous amount]. The only evidence Plaintiffs have offered stops at June 20, 2020, and is now old. Who knows how stale that evidence will be six months or a year from now? The vehicles in the proposed subclasses, which range from nine to 17 years old, are being sold or scrapped with each passing day,” a portion of Volvo’s opposition memorandum reads.

“After more than a decade of failed attempts, the Court should deny Plaintiffs’ renewed motion with prejudice because Plaintiffs have not met their burden of providing all requirements,” Volvo said in its opposition memorandum.

Case Background

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2010 by Joanne Neale, alleged Volvo was responsible for defective sunroofs that caused water leaks in certain models. A new deposition was then added to the class action suit in 2018 by Kelly McGary, who claimed she has not experienced any issues with its sunroof even after leaving her vehicle parked outside, exposing it to various weather conditions.

When questioned about ever noticing any leaks herself, by her mechanic or by her staff members who also drive the vehicle, she answered no.

Plaintiffs want a federal judge to certify their proposed class in a new motion. They claim Volvo sold the defective sunroofs that led to interior damage to its vehicles. According to court documents, some Volvo owners noticed excess water inside of their vehicles after their limited warranty period was up.

In April 2020, Volvo defense attorneys filed a letter to the presiding judge urging the court to dismiss subpoenas, filed by the plaintiffs, requesting additional information from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in an ongoing leaking sunroof class action lawsuit. In mid-June the Court directed the plaintiffs to serve (but not file) their renewed motion for class certification by July 15, 2020. After the renewed motion was served both parties were to meet and confer.

Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for continued coverage of the suit.

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4 Responses to Volvo Tries to Stop Defect Lawsuit

  1. Wally & Gretchen Dunning says:

    Original owners……

    Our 2016 Volvo XC90 less than 50,000 miles – in excess of $5K in electrical repair damages due to plugged sunroof drains as reported by Volvo Service Technicians. NHTSA Complaint 11417805 filed 5/19/2021. I have a detailed event log with pictures and retained replaced parts. Numerous Driver Safety Issues have been reported including an engine that could not be shut down. The car actually had to be towed running to the Volvo Dealership.

  2. Wally & Gretchen Dunning says:

    Here is a link to our full NHTSA complaint…with pictures.

    Wally and Gretchen Dunning

  3. Shiqiang Wei says:

    I am a Canadian owner. My car is 2019 Volvo XC60 is still new, only 3 years old, 24k KM odometer.

    On Oct 11, 2021, I suffered the similar issue with Wally & Gretchen Dunning: There is a piece of insolation-like debris in sunroof drain tube caused a lot of water leak and flooded the car. Errors such as front camera dead, parking brake is temporarily un available, can’t speed up, transmission service required, gear not in p, check engine light on, can’t turn off|on engine, etc., came out.

    I wrote a email to Volvo Canada, 5 days passed, no answer yet!

    The car was towed to Newmarket Volvo, and the service manager quoted me 25 hours(or $5000+) labor to repair it. And all cost will be paid by me although the car is still under warranty! What a shame!

  4. Stacey Leonard says:

    This is in regards to a vehicle I purchased on March 30, 2021. It is a 2012 Volvo S60 T5 VIN #YV16622FS4C2056728. When I purchased the car it had 99,489 miles on the odometer and when the vehicle became an issue it was at 104,409 miles on the odometer. I purchased it on Craigslist from a physician in Maine.
    On December 1, 2021 my husband was driving the vehicle on the highway and it stalled without warning after almost crashing into the vehicle in front of him. He was able to pull over, start the car back up and drive it home. There were no warning alerts or check engine light that came on the dashboard. Keep in mind that the car had 1,000 miles until the next oil change.
    After browsing the internet, we realized that the car had a recall because their vehicles were not warning the driver that there was low oil pressure allowing the driver to continue driving until the engine seized (Recall #R29436; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign #13V592000). The recall was repaired by Prestige Auto on 1/2014. I contacted Volvo of North America who opened up a case (case #211203-000423) and then had the car towed to Portland Volvo in Scarborough, Maine for an appointment on December 14, 2021. On December 15, 2021 Portland Volvo informed us that the vehicle’s engine was beyond repair because of an unfortunate mechanical failure due to lack of lubrication. Later that evening I received an email from Jemmy at Volvo of NA stating that they would cover $750 of the repairs. I emailed her back asking her to wait for a quote from Portland Volvo on how much it was going to be to repair the vehicle. On December 16, 2021 I was informed by Kristen at Portland Volvo that she spoke with the district manager and that a used engine costs between $10-14,000.
    Volvo of North America has now decided to retract their $750 offer to help because the car is now out of warranty but it was due to a manufacturer’s defect. I spoke with Tammy at Prestige Auto (the dealership who fixed the repair) and was told that if the repair was actually fixed then it would have done its due diligence and alerted the driver that there wasn’t any oil pressure. I have also read articles on these kinds of issues and it states that a recall is to be repaired until it fixes the issue, and obviously the issue wasnt fixed the first time.
    I asked for an appeal and without being able to speak to the person who is handling my claim, they sent me an email saying I was denied the appeal and there will be no further response to my email. I was also told by Kristen at Portland Volvo through email that “Volvo may state that it was known by you since 100,000 miles that there was a mechanical fault and it was driven until the engine failed” but I have over a dozen photos of the dashboard that shows from the time I bought it up until the time the engine seized there weren’t any warnings that the car was having a malfunction. I asked her to please have the District Manager look at the photos and explain to me how I could have known that the car was malfunctioning and I have yet to receive an answer. I’ve asked continuously to speak with supervisors and managers at Portland Volvo and Volvo Cars of North America but have been told that they cannot give me the information for the people who are making the decision.
    Not only has the car been seen periodically throughout its lifetime at Volvo dealerships but was seen in July 2021 due to two recalls that needed to be fixed at Volvo in Exeter, NH. They did a multi-point inspection on the car and everything passed and only 3,500 miles had been put on the car since. I have been researching this on the internet since this issue occurred and this seems to be an issue with several owners of the 2012 Volvo s60 T5 cars with engine code 62, which mine is.

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