GM Plans to Settle Defective Braking System Lawsuit

GM Plans to Settle Defective Braking System Lawsuit

  • By: Staff Writer
  • Published December 23, 2020

A putative class action filed against General Motors LLC (“GM”) alleged defective braking systems installed in certain GM vehicles is in settlement proceedings.

As set forth in the third and most recent amended complaint filed in June 2020 by plaintiffs Scott Peckerar and Samantha Peckerar, on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated, the defective brake systems were installed in:

  • 2015 “to present” Cadillac Escalades
  • 2014 “to present” Chevrolet Silverados
  • 2015 “to present” Chevrolet Suburbans
  • 2015 “to present” Chevrolet Tahoes
  • 2014 “to present” GMC Sierras
  • 2015 “to present” GMC Yukon/Yukon XLs

The complaint describes the alleged defect as follows:

The irreparable and defective braking system supplied in all of the Class Vehicles features a defective design that is prone to sudden and unexpected loss of vacuum in the brake booster, requiring replacement of the brake booster and/or the system’s vacuum assist pump. When Class Vehicles suddenly and unexpectedly lose vacuum, the resulting brake booster failure makes Class Vehicles difficult to stop: the brake pedal becomes hard, much more force is required from the driver to slow the vehicle, and stopping distance is severely and suddenly compromised. The defective braking system common to all Class Vehicles is a clear safety hazard that was never disclosed to any member of the class prior to purchase. This hazard present in all Class Vehicles is hereinafter referred to as the “Class Defect.” Failure of the vacuum pump as a result of the Class Defect requires replacement of the vacuum pump to restore brake boost to the driver. Occasionally, vacuum pump failure also leads to the presence of engine oil in the vacuum line connected to the brake booster, or in the brake booster itself; in these instances, replacement of the brake booster is required in addition to replacement of the vacuum pump.

The complaint alleges GM has been aware of this issue since at least 2014, yet did not publicly admit the alleged defect in the United States until September 2019, when it issued Safety Recall 19V645000, which stated “In some circumstances these [Class Vehicles] may have a condition in which the engine-mounted mechanical vacuum pump output may decrease overtime, decreasing the amount of vacuum/power brake assist.”

The complaint raised claims including violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California Unfair Competition Law, and breach of implied warranty, and sought remedies including damages, attorney’s fees, and the “repair of, replacement of, or refund of money paid to own or lease all Class Vehicles in California.”

In September 2020, GM filed its answer to the third amended complaint. However, on October 16, 2020, the parties filed a notice of settlement, notifying the court that the parties had resolved the matter on an individual basis and that the parties were in the process of memorializing the settlement terms into a final written agreement. No later than 60 days after full execution of the agreements, the parties will file a stipulation of dismissal.

The case is Scott Peckerar and Samantha Peckerar, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated v. General Motors LLC, case number 5:18-cv-02153-DMG-SP, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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