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Dodge Ram 1500 EcoDiesel EGR Problems, Class Action Lawsuits and Recall

Current or former owners or lessees of Dodge Ram EcoDiesel 1500 trucks manufactured between June 12, 2013, to October 23, 2019, and equipped with allegedly defective exhaust gas recirculation (“EGR”) coolers need to pay close attention to their legal rights.

There are widespread allegations that Ram EcoDiesel EGR coolers have problems in that they are prone to thermal fatigue, which makes the coolers more prone to internal cracks over time and can cause a vehicle fire.

According to a class action complaint filed over this issue, “an internal crack can introduce preheated, vaporized coolant to the EGR system while the engine is running. This is a potentially dangerous situation as the intake manifold may combust and can cause a vehicle fire if the mixture interacts with other hydrocarbons and air in the system.”

Current or former owners or lessees should know that under California’s lemon law and other state and federal laws may force Fiat Chrysler to either “buy the vehicle back” as qualifying “lemons” or provide other compensation, which can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease if these Ram vehicles experience EcoDiesel problems.

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

ram egr problemsUnder California law, these awards could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, license, registration, etc. Depending on the circumstances, 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. Don’t settle for small-dollar payments or more possible fixes without speaking to a qualified consumer attorney with your individual best interest in mind.

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel EGR Cooler Problems and Partial Recall

In 2019 Fiat Chrysler recalled over 100,000 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel trucks with EGR coolers built between 2014 and 2019 in the U.S. and announced that a remedy for the EGR cooler issue was not yet available but forthcoming. Fiat Chrysler told customers to continue to monitor their coolant levels and contact dealers if the levels were consistently low.

However, the required parts were not available, and Fiat Chrysler dealers were apparently advised that replacement parts were very limited and EGR coolers should be replaced only if the part has failed.

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

Status of the Ram EGR Cooler class action

A class-action lawsuit over the EGR coolers was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on August 27, 2020 (Crawford v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC., 2:20-cv-12341-SJM-DRG) and has been consolidated with several other related actions.

On August 13, 2021, the court granted in part and denied in part Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Complaint, and Fiat Chrysler filed an Answer on September 3, 2021.

A scheduling order was issued on September 22, 2021, setting numerous pretrial dates, including a trial set for October 31, 2023.

The court has not yet approved the case to proceed as a class action. However, the Court recently entered a scheduling order requiring the motion for class certification to be filed by January 26, 2023, and to be fully briefed by April 17, 2023.

What Will Happen in the EGR Class Action Lawsuits?

As with most litigation, many class action cases settle. While there is no indication the lawsuits involving the Ram ecodiesel problems will end up in a settlement, if the case settles and the court preliminarily approves the settlement, 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 made available 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.

Sometimes a class action settlement may provide significant benefits and requires little effort to participate. It also comes with no risk, as the claims have been resolved. And if plaintiffs prevail at trial, you receive whatever relief is awarded by the judge or jury. But if they lose, you may not litigate claims over the issues raised.

For people who have had significant damages or reside in a state that has strong lemon law protection, opting out and pursuing one’s individual case or negotiations may provide them an opportunity to receive a better recovery in a shorter period, but as always there is no guarantee they will get anything in a settlement.

When it comes to car class actions, what to do can be a complicated decision, as it can depend on many factors and an accurate understanding of what the law provides. Here are some important factors to weigh with your consumer lawyer:

  • Do you still own the car? (You may still have claims if you don’t)
  • Are you willing to consider the opportunity of getting a more significant recovery as compared to taking what is offered in a settlement?
  • How old is your car, and what is the mileage?
  • Did it ever stall?
  • Did you ever have any other problems? What were/are they?
  • How long was your car in the shop for each repair and in total?
  • Were you ever told the problems you experienced were “normal”?
  • Did you have repeated repairs attempted?
  • When did the problems start?
  • When did you first take it in for repair?
  • Where did you buy the car?
  • Did you ever ask them to buy it back before?
  • If they offered to repurchase it, what deductions did they demand?

A qualified attorney working with your best interest in mind can help you weigh all these factors and more.

We are available to help you sort through these questions and make a well-informed decision. For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

Dodge Ram EGR Cooler Recall and Class Action FAQ

When and where was the EGR class action lawsuit filed?

Crawford v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC., 2:20-cv-12341-SJM-DRG, was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on August 27, 2020, and has been consolidated with two other lawsuits:

  • Anderson, et al. v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 5:20-cv-13294 (E.D. Mich.) (Levy, J.), filed on October 16, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. On December 11, 2020, the parties stipulated to transfer this case to the Eastern District of Michigan, which the court granted on December 14, 2020.
  • Briggs, et al. v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-13235 (E.D. Mich.) (Drain, J.), filed on December 9, 2020.

What does the class action allege is the nature of the EGR defect in the Ram vehicles?

ram 1500 fireThe class action lawsuits allege Fiat Chrysler US LLC sold hundreds of thousands of Ram 1500 ecodiesel trucks between June 12, 2013, and October 23, 2019, equipped with defective EGR coolers.

The lawsuits allege that these EGR coolers are prone to thermal fatigue, which makes the coolers more prone to internal cracks over time. As the complaints in these lawsuits allege, “an internal crack will then introduce preheated, vaporized coolant to the EGR system while the engine is running. This is a potentially dangerous situation as the intake manifold may combust and result in a vehicle fire if the mixture interacts with other hydrocarbons and air in the system.”

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

What are the affected Ram 1500 models identified in the class action lawsuit?

Dodge Ram 1500 and 1500 Classic vehicles manufactured between June 12, 2013, to October 23, 2019, and equipped with 3.0L EcoDiesel engines that contain EGR coolers.

How many Ram EcoDiesel vehicles are affected by this EGR defect?

According to publicly available data, approximately 3.4 million of these vehicles have been sold nationwide.

How does the Ram EGR defect violate the affected vehicle warranty?

The complaints filed in the lawsuits allege Fiat Chrysler provided Plaintiffs and the members of the proposed class with written warranties wherein Fiat Chrysler promised to fix any defect in design or manufacture during the warranty period. Fiat Chrysler also warranted in advertisements that the vehicles were safe and reliable. Fiat Chrysler breached these express warranties because the vehicles contain defective EGR coolers.

The complaints filed in the lawsuits also allege Fiat Chrysler also impliedly warranted (obligations the law “implies” in the sale, even if not directly stated) these vehicles would conform to the descriptions promised in Fiat Chrysler’s advertisements and consumer-facing communications. Fiat Chrysler breached the implied warranty of merchantability because the vehicles contained defective EGR coolers. Therefore, according to the complaints, “the vehicles are defective, unmerchantable, and unfit for their ordinary, intended purpose.”

Are Ram EcoDiesel vehicles containing EGR coolers unsafe?

The complaints in the class action lawsuits allege that any vehicle with an installed component that creates a chance of combusting and catching fire is unsafe.

Does Fiat Chrysler know about the Ram ecodiesel problems, and have Ram ecodiesel owners been offered anything in settlement?

The complaints filed in the lawsuits allege that Fiat Chrysler has known about the Ram ecodiesel problems and defects in the EGR coolers for years. According to the Complaints, in 2019 Fiat Chrysler recalled over 100,000 Ram 1500 trucks with EGR coolers built between 2014 and 2019 in the U.S. and announced that a remedy for the EGR cooler issue was not yet available, but forthcoming. However, the required repair parts were not available, and dealers were apparently advised that replacement parts were very limited and EGR coolers should be replaced only if the part had actually failed.

Even with this recall, Fiat Chrysler told customers to continue to monitor their coolant levels and contact dealers if the levels were consistently low. Beyond this, Fiat Chrysler has not consistently offered significant ecodiesel settlements.

Has the EGR class action lawsuit been settled?

There has been no announcement of a Ram ecodiesel settlement or any indication there are any ongoing or scheduled settlement negotiations. The parties in that lawsuit are currently engaged in active discovery into the Ram ecodiesel problems.

Is there anything I need to do at this time?

At this point, the class action lawsuits have not been settled or been certified to formally proceed as a class action. A trial will not take place until December 2023.

If you want to bring your own claim over Ram ecodiesel problems, you can do so now. You can opt out when you receive the class action notice, or the class may be defined as those people who have not sued or settled their claims, and you could be automatically opted out of the settlement.

As settlement has not been reached nor a class certified, there is nothing you are required to do now. However, there is no reason to wait.

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

What happens if I don’t opt out of the Class Action lawsuit or future settlement?

rav4 settlementIt depends on how the settlement is structured, but generally, if you do not opt out of the settlement you will be bound by its terms. You will receive any benefits offered in the settlement, either automatically or by submitting a claim form.

However, you will not be able to get more or bring any individual case over the defective Ram EGR coolers, except possibly for personal injury claims.

Why should I opt out of any class action or settlement?

Some class actions provide significant benefits without the need to 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.

However, many other people who know their rights may decide that the relief offered as part of the class action settlement is not adequate, that they do not want to wait to get relief, or that they could get more if they do not participate in the class action settlement and go their own way with their own lawyer. This depends on a variety of factors, such as how old is your car, can you document the defect that occurred in your car, have you taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion, do you still own the vehicle, is it still under warranty and where you bought the care – among many other factors.

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

What is the Song Beverly Warranty Act?

The California 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 part of hard and fast rules – safety defects should be fixed immediately. The defects have to “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.” Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2).

Under Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers must promptly repurchase or replace the vehicle they cannot fix 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 with wrongful intent) in ignoring or failing its obligation under Song-Beverly.

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

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

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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