Response Filed in Sunroof Class Action Suit

Another amended complaint has been filed by Bruce Pickens against Mercedes-Benz USA (Mercedes-Benz) for spontaneous sunroof breakage. Originally the class action lawsuit included Saint-Gobain Sekurit (Saint Gobain), and Napleton Autowerks of Indiana, Inc. (Napleton Autowerks) as defendants. The amended complaint comes after a motion to dismiss were filed by Saint Gobain and Napleton Autoweks.

The presiding judge denied both motions to dismiss and stated that since the new class action complaint does not include Saint Gobain or Napleton Autowerks the motions are moot. Pickens alleged that Mercedes-Benz is at fault for misrepresenting the safety of its vehicles and states spontaneous sunroof breakage as a main factor in his amended complaint. He also alleges the German luxury auto manufacturer engaged in “the practice of misrepresenting the safety of the vehicles,” which resulted in harm to vehicle owners and passengers.

“The Class Vehicles’ sunroof systems have one or more serious design defects, including that they were installed with a defective bonding agent between the glass panel and the sliding roof frame that causes the sunroof to detach from the roof frame and shatter and thus become unusable for its intended purpose,” a portion of the amended complaint reads.

Mercedes-Benz recently filed a motion to dismiss on Pickens’ amended complaint and requested the judge deny class action certification.

“This action, and the second amended complaint (SAC) in particular, is a copycat of three failed class action complaints filed against Mercedes-Benz USA, all of which were voluntarily dismissed by their plaintiffs,” a portion of Mercedes-Benz memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss reads.

The auto manufacturer also noted that two previous cases were abandoned neatly, of which Pickens didn’t mention in his second amended complaint.

Mercedes-Benz says Pickens’ allegations fail to acknowledge the multiple prior actions brought against the manufacturer or explain how this action differs. “The Court should not entertain plaintiff’s improper attempt to manufacture a dispute using specious allegations previously abandoned four times,” a portion of Mercedes-Benz memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss reads.

The original and amended class action complaints allege 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.

Pickens alleges 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.

Following Pickens’ original complaint both Saint Gobain and Napleton Autoweks filed a motion to dismiss prior to an amended complaint being filed.

Pickens and the presiding judge have yet to respond to Mercedes-Benz latest motion to dismiss. Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for more information on this suit.

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