Lawsuit Alleges Defective Windshields in Certain Subaru Models
A class action has been filed against Subaru of America, Inc. and Subaru Corporation (collectively, “Subaru”) alleging that a defect in the windshield on certain Subaru models is causing the windshields to suddenly crack. Another problem alleged in connection with this purported defect is that it can affect a safety feature called “EyeSight Driver Assist Technology,” which is described below:
EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is capable of detecting vehicles traveling in front and can activate in order to mitigate or even avoid the collision. The system reduces rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85 percent according to IIHS. * With the help of two Subaru-developed color cameras mounted behind the windshield, EyeSight can identify vehicles traveling in front, traffic lanes, obstacles and pedestrians. The system has helped reduce the rate of pedestrian-related insurance claims by 41 percent according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.
The consolidated class action complaint alleges the following Subaru models contain the defective windshield:
- 2017-2020 Forester
- 2017-2020 Outback
- 2017-2020 Crosstrek
- 2017-2020 Legacy
- 2017-2020 Impreza
The putative class is: “All persons or entities who purchased or leased a Class Vehicle in the United States and (i) suffered a damaged windshield or (ii) who own or lease a Class Vehicle with the original or replacement windshield.” The complaint also proposes a number of state subclasses.
As set forth in the complaint, the named plaintiffs include the following individuals, who allege as follows:
- Plaintiff Jason Moore purchased a 2019 Subaru Outback. Less than two months after purchase, a loud pop occurred as his vehicle was being backed out of his garage and sunlight fell upon it. “Instantly, a fracture occurred at the base of the windshield and spread across the entire width of the windshield.” The Subaru dealership advised him it would not cover the cost of the replacement windshield under warranty, and another Subaru representative denied any defect in the windshield. Mr. Moore submitted a claim to his insurance company and paid a $500 deductible for a replacement windshield from Subaru, which he believes has the same defect as his original windshield.
- Plaintiff Jeffrey Bar leased a 2019 Subaru Forester. He was driving on a highway with his wife when “the windshield suddenly and inexplicably cracked,” while no vehicles were near them. He heard a loud sound – the windshield cracking – and saw an approximately 12-inch long crack appear. He submitted a claim to his insurance company and paid a $500 deductible for a replacement windshield from Subaru, which he believes suffers from the same defect at his original windshield.
The plaintiffs assert claims including breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranties, violation of state consumer laws, and negligent misrepresentation/omission. They allege that “upon information and belief during the relevant period Defendants have known that the Class Vehicles contain the Defect but concealed their knowledge from the public and continue to deny that the Defect exists.”
They further allege, “A large number of Class Vehicle owners and lessees have reported experiencing the Defect, often shortly after purchase.” The complaint cites a complaint submitted to the National Highway Traffic Administration:
MY WINDSHIELD IS CRACKED FOR THE 2ND TIME NOW IN ITS FIRST YEAR OF OWNERSHIP. THE FIRST TIME IT CRACKED IT WAS BECAUSE OF A PEBBLE STRIKE FROM THE ROAD. EXTREMELY SMALL FRAGMENT STRUCK THE GLASS, MADE A POCK MARK, AND THE WINDSHIELD WAS REPLACED. TODAY, LESS THAN A MONTH LATER A NEW CRACK APPEARED WHILE DRIVING WITHOUT ANY STRIKE FROM AN OBJECT. SUBARU DEALER CLAIMS IT WAS STRUCK BUT FIND A CRACK ONLY WITHOUT ANY POINT ALONG IT OF AN IMPACT MAKES ME VERY VERY SUSPICIOUS. NOW I HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANY TO SETTLE ON CHARGES AND SEND A CHECK BEFORE THE NEXT WINDSHIELD CAN BE APPLIED. MY WIFE AND I WERE CALMLY DRIVING ON COMPLETELY PAVED ROADS WHEN WE BOTH WATCHED THE CRACK APPEAR AND GROW DURING OUR DRIVE. I HAVE DRIVEN FOR 50+ YEARS, AND OWNED 20+ CARS. I’VE NEVER HAD THIS HAPPEN
The lawsuit seeks remedies including an order requiring “Defendants to accept full liability and responsibility for the defective windshields in the Class Vehicles and all related damages,” “[e]quitable relief in the form of buyback of the Class Vehicles,” and damages.
Defendants have moved to dismiss.
The case is Christine Powell, et al. v. Subaru of America, Inc., case number 1:19-cv-19114-NLH-JS, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.