New Jersey Judge Approves Six- State Class Action Over Alleged Volvo Sunroof Defect
April 2, 2013

by Jenna Reed,

In a recent ruling, a judge with the New Jersey District Court has given the go ahead for a six-state class action lawsuit against Volvo. The crux of the matter centers around Volvo's sunroof on several models, which plaintiffs allege harbor a defect, allowing water to flood the vehicles. The judge also denied Volvo's motion for summary judgment.

The six states Judge Dennis Cavanaugh granted as subclasses for class action are Massachusetts, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, California and Maryland.

The plaintiffs contend the "defect" sunroofs are on Volvo's S40, S60, S80, V50 (model years 2004 to present), XC90 (model years 2003 to present) and V50 (model years 2005 to present).

"Plaintiffs allege that the sunroof drainage systems in these vehicles harbored a defect which allows water to become entrapped within the passenger compartment floorplans, causing damage to the vehicles, including interior components, carpets and safety-related electrical sensors and wiring," according to the court documents.

"Plaintiffs further allege that Volvo had longstanding knowledge of a material design defect, based on plaintiffs' assertion that numerous consumer complaints existed as well as internal Volvo communications and Technical Service Bulletins issued by Volvo in an unsuccessful attempt to address the problem," the document continues.

Plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit represent each of the states in which the judge granted approval for class action.

In his opinion, Judge Cavanaugh writes, "In finding that certification of plaintiffs' proposed statewide classes is warranted, the court finds that triable issues of fact exist. These issues include whether the design of the sunroof drainage systems were defectively designed, whether the defendants knew of the defect but failed to disclose it to the class and whether the maintenance instructions were inadequate and/or uniformly deficient. These issues are more than sufficient to warrant denial of defendants' individual motion for summary judgment."

The suit was filed in 2010 in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by Joanne Neale of Needham, Mass., and seven other owners.

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