Mercedes Sued for Allegedly ‘Defective’ Panoramic Sunroofs

A new class action lawsuit filed in Georgia alleges that the panoramic sunroofs on select Mercedes Benz models ranging from 2006 forward contain a “defect.” The plaintiffs allege that the panoramic sunroofs have a “propensity to shatter under normal driving conditions,” and that the vehicle manufacturer has “long known that its panoramic sunroofs are prone to unexpected and dangerous shattering.”

Filed on February 14, the complaint opens with a brief examination of panoramic sunroofs, with plaintiffs noting the engineering challenges that come with glass replacing sheet metal on the roof. According to the complaint, panoramic sunroofs add mass at the top of the vehicle, raise a vehicle’s center of gravity, and must maintain structural integrity through bumps, jolts and more.

“Mercedes has failed to satisfactorily meet the engineering challenges presented by panoramic sunroofs,” the plaintiffs’ complaint states. “Mercedes vehicles with panoramic sunroofs suffer from a design, manufacturing and/or materials defect whereby their panoramic sunroofs will spontaneously shatter under normal driving conditions creating a safety hazard for the vehicle occupants and surrounding traffic.”

Plaintiffs say drivers who have experienced shattering panoramic sunroofs liken the sound to a gunshot or a bomb, after which glass fragments “rain down upon the occupants of the vehicle.” Natalie Bolling, who brought the case individually and on behalf of those similarly situated, alleges she was driving on the highway when she heard what sounded like a shotgun blast in the vehicle. Bolling says the car then began to shake as air entered through the hole where the sunroof had been.

She then reports that the vehicle was taken to a Mercedes-Benz location for repairs, at which time a service department representative allegedly “admitted” that the situation had repeated itself on several occasions. According to the complaint, Mercedes would not cover the repairs, claiming that the sunroof shattered as a result of “outside influence.”

“Mercedes has known about the propensity of its panoramic sunroofs to spontaneously shatter for more than a decade,” plaintiffs allege. “As early as 2006, Mercedes received reports from consumers, NHSTA, and its own dealerships that its panoramic sunroofs were not withstanding the stresses created by ordinary driving conditions.”

The following vehicles are alleged to have the “defect,” according to the complaint:

– 2011-present C-Class

– 2014-present CLA-Class

– 2011-present E-Class

-2011-present GL-Class/GLS-Class1

-2011-present GLK-Class/GLC-Class2

-2012-present M-Class/GLE Class3

-2015-2017 Mercedes Maybach S-600

-2011-2012 R-Class

-2011-present S-Class

-2011-2019 SL-Class; and

-2013-2020 SLK-Class/SLC-Class.

The plaintiffs allege breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment and more.

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