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Class Action Lawsuit Over GM Transmission Problems In 2015–2019 Corvette, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC Vehicles

Current or former purchasers or lessees of certain 2015 – 2019 model year GM Corvette, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles need to pay close attention to their legal rights.

Won v. General Motors LLC (E.D. MI. Case No. 2:19-cv-11044-DML-DRG) is a class action lawsuit filed on April 10, 2019, which was consolidated with lawsuits filed by several other consumers on behalf of people who purchased or leased certain cars equipped with a 8L45 or 8L90 GM transmission.

In September 2019, the Plaintiffs filed an Amended Consolidated Class Action complaint. The affected vehicles include:

  • 2015-2019 Corvette C7
  • 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS-V
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CTS
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CTS-V
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CT6
  • 2015-2019 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2017-2019 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2016-2019 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2017-2019 GMC Canyon
  • 2015-2019 GMC Sierra
  • 2015-2019 GMC Yukon
  • 2015-2019 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2015-2017 GMC Yukon Denali

According to the complaint, vehicles equipped with GM’s 8L45E and 8L90 automatic transmissions can cause slipping gears, shifting into gear aggressively, shuddering or jerking, delayed acceleration, and have trouble slowing down (“Transmission Defect”).

cadillac transmission problemsThese GM transmission problems can cause unsafe conditions such as the vehicles suddenly lurching forward, sudden loss of forward movement or significant delays in acceleration.

The complaint alleges these conditions present a safety hazard because they severely affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, and deceleration.

Current or former owners experiencing these GM transmission problems should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force GM to either “buy the vehicle back,” or provide other compensation for those experiencing the Transmission Defect.

Under California’s lemon law, qualifying “lemons” must be bought back. That can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease, and could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, license, and registration, etc. You could even qualify for two-times your money back.

There is a formula in the law that starts with you getting all your money back, and then taking certain deductions and exclusions away from your payment. Those refunds and exclusions are difficult to understand and can be fought against by knowledgeable consumer attorneys.

We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision. Simply fill out the form below and we will contact you.

Status of the GM Transmission Class Actions

Five class action lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan over these GM transmission problems and were consolidated in September 2019:

  1. Francis Won, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, Case No. 19-11044
  2. Shelton, et al. v. General Motors, Case No. 19-11802
  3. Ray v. General Motors, Case No. 19-11808
  4. Duffy, et al. v. General Motors, Case No. 19-11875
  5. Gutierrez, et al. v. General Motors, Case, No. 19-12371

On November 30, 2020, the Court issued an Order dismissing some claims from the complaint but allowed other class action claims to proceed. The Court issued another order on June 3, 2021.

On September 24, 2021, Plaintiffs moved for Leave to File Second Addendum to Consolidated Amended Class Action complaint, which was granted on December 16, 2021.

A motion for class certification was filed by plaintiffs on February 7, 2022, and GM filed its response on March 9, 2022. The Court has set a hearing for June 2, 2022. The court has not yet set a trial date. This case has not settled and is not in settlement negotiations.

As a GM transmission class member, what are your options?

In a class action lawsuit, if the class is certified by the Court the lawyers who bring the class action represent you. If they prevail at trial, you receive whatever relief that is awarded by the judge or jury. If they lose, you may not be able to litigate claims over the issues raised.

As with most litigation, the vast majority of class action cases settle. You will receive a class notice describing your options. Those options will be: (a) do nothing, in which case you may get nothing but be bound by the settlement, (b) submit a claim form if requested and get whatever relief is provided and you are also bound by the settlement, or (c) opt out and pursue your own claims, in which case you are not bound by the settlement but cannot participate in the relief being offered to class members.

For many people, a class action settlement may provide significant benefits and requires little effort to participate. It also comes with little to no risk, as the claims have been resolved.

But for others, particularly where they may have had significant damages, opting out and pursuing individual claims may provide them an opportunity to receive a better recovery, in a shorter period of time, but with no guarantee they will get anything in settlement.

We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision as to your options. Simply fill out the following form and we will promptly contact you.

With vehicles what to do can be a complicated decision, as it can depend on many factors. These factors include:

  • how old is your car?
  • has your car has slipping gears, aggressive shifting into gear, shuddering or jerking, delayed acceleration, trouble slowing down, sudden lurches forward, sudden loss of forward movement or significant delays in acceleration occurred in your car?
  • have you taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion?
  • do you still own the car?
  • is the car still under warranty?
  • Where do you live?

GM Transmission Problems and Class Action Lawsuit FAQ

When and where were the GM transmission class action lawsuits filed?

Won v. General Motors LLC (E.D. MI. Case No. 2:19-cv-11044-DML-DRG) was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on April 10, 2019. Five other class action lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and were consolidated in September 2019.

What do Plaintiffs allege in the GM transmission class action lawsuits?

According to the complaint, vehicles with GM’s 8L45E and 8L90 automatic transmissions can cause slipping gears, shifting into gear aggressively, shuddering or jerking, delayed acceleration, and have trouble slowing down.

The complaint further alleges that the Transmission Defect manifests itself within the limited warranty period or shortly after the limited warranty period expires.

The complaint further alleges that GM knew, or should have known, of this critical defect during sale or shortly thereafter when people complained of the defect at GM’s authorized dealerships, but that GM failed to disclose the Transmission Defect to consumers.

What vehicle models are identified in the GM transmission class action lawsuits?

  • 2015-2019 Corvette C7
  • 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS-V
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CTS
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CTS-V
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac CT6
  • 2015-2019 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2017-2019 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2016-2019 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2017-2019 GMC Canyon
  • 2015-2019 GMC Sierra
  • 2015-2019 GMC Yukon
  • 2015-2019 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2015-2017 GMC Yukon Denali

How many GM vehicles are affected by this transmission defect?

According to publicly available data, there have been approximately 5.5 million of these vehicles sold in the United States.

What does the class action lawsuit claim causes the GM transmission defect?

corvette interiorThe complaint alleges that the shuddering, shaking, jerking and hesitation in these vehicles is related to internal issues within the transmission and/or torque converter causing undue friction and impairing proper functioning of hydraulic systems and gears, which results in metal shavings being circulated throughout the transmission.

This damage to the transmission and torque converter imposes escalating repairs upon consumers, including the need to flush the metal shavings from the transmission.

Are Vehicles with the GM Transmission Defect Unsafe?

The complaint alleges that the Transmission Defect can cause unsafe conditions including but not limited vehicles suddenly lurching forward, sudden loss of forward movement, and significant delays in acceleration. The complaint further alleges these conditions present a safety hazard because they severely affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, and deceleration.

We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision as to your options. Simply fill out the following form and we will promptly contact you.

How does the transmission defect violate the affected vehicle warranty?

GM provided all purchasers of the Class Vehicles with a New Vehicle Limited Warranty with the purchase or lease of the Class Vehicles. The New Vehicle Limited Warranty for Cadillac-brand vehicles (“Cadillac Warranty”) included a “Bumper-to-Bumper” warranty (the complete vehicle is covered for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first) and a Powertrain warranty (7 years or 70,000 miles, whichever comes first).

The New Vehicle Limited Warranty for Chevrolet and GM-brand Class Vehicles (“Chevrolet/GM Warranty”) included substantially the same terms as the Cadillac Warranty terms, except that the Chevrolet/GM Warranty’s “Bumper-to-Bumper” coverage period was limited to “the first 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first,” and the powertrain warranty coverage period was limited to “5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.”

The complaint further alleges GM breached these express warranties by performing illusory repairs to fix the Transmission Defect. Rather than repairing the vehicles under the express warranties, the complaint alleges GM falsely informed consumers there was no problem with their Class Vehicles, performed ineffective procedures including software updates, and/or replaced defective components in the 8L90 and 8L45 transmissions with equally defective components without actually repairing the vehicles.

Have the consumers been offered anything to resolve this issue?

The complaint alleges that the Transmission Defect is covered under GM’s express warranty. However, when consumers bring their vehicles to GM’s authorized agents for repair, they are told that their vehicles are behaving normally, given ineffective repairs, or are having their transmissions or components replaced with the same defective parts.

The complaint alleges GM has routinely failed to repair these vehicles under warranty when the defect manifests even though GM knew, or should have known, of this critical defect during sale or shortly thereafter when numerous consumers complained of the Transmission Defect at GM’s authorized dealerships.

The complaint also alleges that although GM was obligated to correct the Transmission Defect, none of the attempted fixes to the transmissions or software updates are adequate under the terms of the vehicle warranties, as they did not cure the defect.

Have the GM transmission class action lawsuits been settled?

Not at this time.

Is there anything I need to do at this time?

At this point the case has not settled. While a motion for class certification is set to be heard in June 2022, at this point the case has not been certified to proceed as a class action. If you want to bring your own claim, you can do so now and opt out when you receive notice. Or the class will be defined as those people who have not sued or settled their claims and you will be automatically opted out of the settlement.

As a settlement has not been reached and class certification has not been granted or notice mailed out, there is nothing you need to do at this time. However, if you would like to discuss your options with us, please fill out the following form.

Why Should I Opt-Out of Any Certified Class or Settlement?

For many people a class action provides them significant benefits without the need to spend any money or do much other than complete a claim form. And because the matter is settled, as long as the Court approves the settlement you will get the relief described in the class notice.

handing keys over to carHowever, many people do not want to wait to get relief or that they think they will get more if they do not participate in a class action settlement. This depends on a variety of factors, such as how old is your car, can you document the defect occurred in your car, have you taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion, do you still own the car, is it still under warranty and where do you live.

Depending on the answers to those questions, while there is no guarantee you will receive any recovery if you opt out you may have the opportunity to receive significant relief, including a vehicle repurchase and possible penalties.

What is the Song Beverly Warranty Act?

The Song-Beverly Warranty Act, California Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), is a California state law that requires manufacturers to repair defects after a reasonable number of repair attempts. What is “reasonable” is not set in stone – safety defects should be fixed immediately, for example. The defects must “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.” Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2).

Under Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers such as GM must promptly offer repurchase or replacement of the vehicle if they cannot fix it in a reasonable time frame. In addition, Civil Code §1794(c) and §1793.2(d) provides that customers may have a civil penalty up to two times actual damages if manufacturers acted “willfully” (meaning knowingly not necessarily malicious) in ignoring or failing its obligation under the Song-Beverly Act.

Finally, as the Song-Beverly Act is a pro-consumer fee-shifting statute under Civil Code §1794(d), manufacturers such as GM must pay consumers’ attorney’s fees and costs as part of any litigation or settlement.

May I have additional legal rights if I am a member of the Armed Forces?

Under Cal. Civil Code 1795.8, if a person is a member of the Armed Forces the protections of the Song Beverly Act may apply, even if you purchased your vehicle outside of California, so long as the manufacturer sells vehicles in California.

Members of the Armed Forces would need to show they were stationed in or a resident of California when they purchased the vehicle or when they filed a claim against the manufacturer.

We are here to answer your questions

There are a lot of factors to consider in deciding whether to opt out of a class action lawsuit and pursue individual claims. We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision as to your options. Simply fill out the following form and we will promptly contact you.

Free Lemon Law Consultation

There is a lot to consider in deciding whether to pursue an individual lemon law claim.

The Hanson Law Firm is available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision.

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