A California federal district court declined to dismiss portions of a lawsuit alleging a defect in 2018-2019 Honda Odysseys with a certain type of transmission. As outlined in the court’s October 6, 2022, Order, the putative class action alleges a defect in 2018-2019 Honda Odyssey vehicles equipped with the ZF 9HP Automatic Transmission.
The four named plaintiffs seek to represent a national class and five subclasses, with various warranty and state consumer protection claims. They allege the transmissions have two software modules that fail to communicate properly—the Transmission Control Module and the Powertrain Control module. These modules control the transmission’s function and its interaction with the engine. The plaintiffs allege the defect causes illumination of the Malfunction Indicator light, noises and other issues with shifting, harsh gear engagement, sudden or harsh accelerating/decelerating, and a sudden loss of power.
As previously covered by US Auto Law, the Court granted Honda’s motion to dismiss in July 2021, but gave the plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint. The plaintiffs have since filed second and third amended complaints, with the third being the subject of the Court’s October 2022 order. Honda sought to dismiss various consumer protection claims on the basis that it did not have a duty to disclose the alleged defect. However, as the court Court noted, the plaintiffs’ third amended complaint alleged five sources of the defendant’s exclusive knowledge of the alleged defects: pre-sale testing; consumer complaints made to Honda and online; complaints to the NHTSA; technical service bulletins; and dealership repair orders. The Court found that applying the motion to dismiss legal standard—under which the Court generally had to accept as true all well-pled factual allegations and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs—the plaintiffs’ allegations permitted a reasonable inference that Honda knew of the alleged defect at the time the plaintiffs had purchased their vehicles.
The case is Ronda Ann Browning, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., et al., case number 5:20-cv-05417-BLF. It is in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
You can read the Court's order below: