Lawsuit Alleges Defective Electronic Throttle Control and Accelerator Pedal Position Sensors in Certain GM Models

Lawsuit Alleges Defective Electronic Throttle Control and Accelerator Pedal Position Sensors in Certain GM Models

  • By: Staff Writer
  • Published December 23, 2020

A putative class action lawsuit has been filed alleging that General Motors LLC (“GM”) manufactured, sold, and leased vehicles equipped with a defective electronic throttle control and/or accelerator pedal position sensor—related to acceleration in the powertrain—that caused the vehicles to “abruptly lose power, often at interstate highway speeds,” often with a warning on the dashboard reading “Engine Power is Reduced.”  The lawsuit alleges the defect presents major safety concerns, as “drivers have reported that the defect can cause a loss of control or a rear end accident from vehicles following behind them.”

The complaint alleges the following cars have the defect:

  • 2016-2018 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 2017-2018 Buick LaCrosse
  • 2018 Buick Regal

Legal claims

The plaintiff raises claims including breach of warranty, violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of New York General Business Law, and unjust enrichment.

The plaintiff contends GM knew of the purported defect through sources including feedback from its dealers, complaints posted on web forums and social media, and complaints reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

In addition, the plaintiff alleges GM issued a “silent recall”—a “Special Coverage Adjustment N182188250” that permits some owners of the class vehicles to have the defective components replaced—but some vehicle owners experienced the defect even after such replacement, and the adjustment does not cover the repairs in class vehicles that have not experienced the defect.

The named plaintiff, Mark Rothschild, filing on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, allegedly experienced the defect in his 2017 Chevrolet Malibu while driving at “highway speed” and had the components at issue replaced for free under warranty, but claims he experienced the issue again and the dealership refused to cover the costs, as they were no longer covered by the warranty.

The lawsuit seeks remedies including damages and an order “requiring GM to adequately disclose and remediate the Engine Power Reduced defect and enjoining GM from incorporating the defective powertrain into its vehicles in the future.”

GM filed its answer to the most recent complaint in October 2020, and the case is in the discovery phase.

The case is Mark Rothschild v. General Motors LLC, case number 1:19-cv-05240-DLI-RLM, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

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