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The Tigershark Engine Class Action and Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Current or former owners of 2013–2020 Fiat Chrysler vehicles with a Tigershark™ 2.4 Liter engine need to pay close attention to their rights. A class action settlement that will importantly affect Fiat Chrysler’s customer’s rights may be announced soon.

The Tigershark engine is infamous for burning large amounts of oil, even to the point of stalling.

The Tigershark™ engine was used in Chrysler 200s, Dodge Darts, Fiat 500Xs, Fiat Journeys, Jeep Cherokees, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegades and Ram ProMaster City vehicles.

Current or former owners should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force Fiat Chrysler to either “buy the vehicle back,” or provide other important compensation. Under California’s lemon law, qualifying “lemons” must be bought back, and that can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease.

The refund 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. In fact, you could even qualify for two-times your money back, depending on the circumstances. What Fiat Chrysler would have to buy it for has nothing to do with how much the vehicle is currently worth.

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 lemon law attorneys.

Don’t settle for small dollar payments or more possible fixes without speaking to qualified lemon law attorney who has your individual best interest in mind. Watch the mail, watch your email, and contact a lemon law lawyer for advice when and if this case settles.

Vehicles identified as including the Tigershark 2.4 liter engine include the following models:Jeep Cherokee

  • 2015-2017 Chrysler 200
  • 2013–2016 Dodge Dart
  • 2016-2020 Fiat 500X
  • 2017-2020 Fiat Toro
  • 2017-2020 Dodge Journey
  • 2014-2020 Jeep Cherokee
  • 2017-2020 Jeep Compass
  • 2015-2020 Jeep Renegade
  • 2015-2020 Ram Promaster City

As you may very well already know, there are widespread allegations that this particular engine model burns excessive oil, and when the oil gets low the engine can stall or is damaged.

Fiat Chrysler has claimed burning a quart of oil about every 1,000 miles is “normal.” Beyond corporate denials of anything being wrong, there have been various claimed fixes of these engines, but customer complaints continue.

A class-action lawsuit over the oil and stalling was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on April 19, 2020 (Amber Wood, Ashley Schuchart, Karen Burke, and Danielle Coates v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC., 5:20cv11054), along with several other related actions.

The lawsuits may be in the process of being settled. You may soon have the option of participating in that settlement or bringing your own claim and “opting out” of that class action settlement or the litigation.

An experienced lemon law lawyer is available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision.

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

What is Happening with the Tigershark Class Action Litigation?

A class action lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Tigershark class action was filed on April 19, 2020.

The case has been proposed to be certified to proceed on behalf of:

  1. a Nationwide Class – All persons who purchased or leased a Fiat Chrysler vehicle equipped with the 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir II engine in the United States.
  2. Individual State Classes – All members of the Nationwide Class who are residents of a particular State or purchased or leased their defective vehicle in that State. This is an alternative if a court does not approve the nationwide class action.

The case has not been approved by the Court to proceed as a class action. The case is not set to go to trial, but has been in settlement talks since earlier this year.

The parties recently stipulated to a 30-day extension of the current stay of proceedings until October 2, 2021 while the parties engage in further settlement discussions. According to the parties in their most recent report to the Court, during the time the case has been stayed, the parties have participated in three mediation sessions, exchanged numerous communications, and engaged in substantial discovery to advance the Parties’ mediation efforts.

The most recent Tigershark class action mediation took place on August 25, 2021, and the parties anticipate they will know whether a settlement is possible within the next 30 days. The parties will be filing a report with the Court on the status of those mediation efforts by October 1, 2021.

What Happens with Lemon Law Class Actions and How Do Customers Protect Themselves?

In a class action lawsuit, if the class is certified by the Court the lawyers who bring the class action will automatically represent you. You will receive notice if the case is certified by the Court to proceed as a class action and of your right to opt out of the class by a certain deadline.

If the class action prevails at trial you receive whatever relief that is awarded by the judge or jury. But if they lose, you may not be able to litigate your individual claims over the issues raised in the case.

As with most litigation, the vast majority of class action cases settle. According to Court records, the parties in the Tigershark lawsuit have been discussing settlement since at least the beginning of 2021.

If the case settles, and the court preliminarily approves the settlement, you will receive a class notice describing your options.

Typical class action settlement options are:

  1. do nothing, in which case you may get nothing but be bound by the settlement
  2. submit a class action claim form if requested and get whatever relief is made available and you are also bound by the settlement, or
  3. opt-out and pursue your own individual claims, in which case you are not bound by the settlement but cannot participate in any of the relief that is being offered to class members.

Chrysler 200Sometimes a class action settlement may provide significant benefits and does not require much effort to participate. It also comes with no risk, as the claims have been resolved.

But for people who have had significant damages or have really strong lemon law protections, opting out and pursuing one’s individual case or negotiations may provide them an opportunity to receive a better recovery, in a shorter period of time, but with (as always) no guarantee they will get anything in settlement.

When it comes car class actions what to do can be a complicated decision, as it can depend on many factors and a real understanding of what the law provides. Here are some important factors to weigh with your consumer lemon law 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 greater recovery as compared to taking what is offered in settlement?
  • How old is your car, and what is the mileage?
  • Did your car burn oil?
  • 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.” by Fiat Chrysler dealers or Fiat Chrysler?
  • 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 buy it back, what deductions did they demand?

All these questions and more need to be weighed by a qualified lemon law attorney working with your best interest in mind.

We are available to help you sort through these questions and make a well-informed decision.

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

Frequently Asked Questions About the Tigershark Class Action

 

What is the class action lawsuit name and case number?

Amber Wood, Ashley Schuchart, KarenBurke, and Danielle Coates v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC., 5:20cv11054

When and where was a class action lawsuit filed?

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on April 19, 2020.

Other related cases include:

  • Durham v. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V. et al., Case No. 5:20-cv-11040 (E.D. Mich.) filed on April 27, 2020.
  • Watson v. Fiat Chrysler US, LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-11069 (E.D. Mich.), filed on May 1, 2020, was originally assigned to Judge Mark A. Goldsmith, but was reassigned to Judge Levy on May 27, 2020. See Case No. 2:20-cv-11069 at ECF No. 11.
  • Schmid et. al. v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-11090 (E.D. Mich.), filed on May 5, 2020, was originally assigned to Judge Mark A. Goldsmith, but was reassigned to Judge Levy on May 27, 2020. See Case No. 2:20-cv-11090 at ECF No. 23.
  • Davis et. al. v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 5:20-cv-11223 (E.D. Mich.), filed on May 18, 2020, was originally assigned to Judge Robert H. Cleland, but was reassigned to Judge Levy on May 27, 2020. See Case No. 5:20-cv-11223 at ECF No. 3.
  • Romanchuk et. al. v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-11233 (E.D. Mich.), filed on May 19, 2020, was originally assigned to Judge Gershwin Drain, but was reassigned to Judge Levy on July 28, 2020. See Case No. 2:20-cv-11233 at ECF No. 14.
  • Gizzarelli et. al. v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-11442 (E.D. Mich.), filed on June 3, 2020, was originally assigned to Judge Terrence Berg, but was reassigned to Judge Levy on June 5, 2020. See Case No. 2:20-cv-11442 at ECF No. 8.
  • Christman v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-11480 (E.D. Mich.) (“Christman”), was filed originally in state court on June 5, 2020, whereafter it was removed to this Court by Fiat Chrysler US, where it is now pending before Judge Levy. See 2:20-cv-11480 at ECF 8.
  • Weiner v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, Case No. 5:20-cv-11968 (E.D. Mich.), filed on July 21, 2020 was originally assigned to Judge Sean Cox, but was reassigned to Judge Levy on July 27, 2020. See 5:20-cv-11968 at ECF No. 3.

The Parties stipulated and agreed that all above cases shall be consolidated with Wood et al. v. Fiat Chrysler US LLC, for all purposes, including trial. A Consolidated Master Complaint was filed on October 21, 2020.

What do Plaintiffs allege is the defect in the Tigershark class action lawsuit?

adding oil to car enginePlaintiffs allege that between 2013 and 2020, certain Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Fiat model vehicles with the 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir II 4-cylinder engines sold by Fiat Chrysler US LLC contain a design and/or manufacturing defect that causes them to consume abnormally high amounts of oil. Also, when the oil gets low the engine can stall or is damaged.

The Tigershark engines have caused customers to pay for the extreme amounts of oil consumed from everyday driving. These defective engines could cause these engines to unexpectedly stall while driving, which in other recall notices Fiat Chrysler has indicated can make the vehicles potentially unsafe.

What are the affected vehicle models identified in the class action lawsuit?

Vehicles identified as including the Tigershark 2.4 liter engine include the following models:

2015-2017 Chrysler 200
2014-2020 Jeep Cherokee
2017-2020 Jeep Compass
2015-2020 Jeep Renegade
2017-2020 Dodge Journey
2013–2016 Dodge Dart
2016-2020 Fiat 500X
2017-2020 Fiat Toro
2015-2020 Ram Promaster City

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

What does the class action lawsuit claim is the nature of the defect in the affected vehicles?

The above identified vehicles contain several alleged defects. One is a significant design and/or manufacturing defect in their engines that causes them to improperly burn off and/or consume abnormally high amounts of oil. As a result of this oil consumption defect, these vehicles can shut down during the course of their normal operation — placing the occupants and surrounding vehicles at an increased risk of serious injury and death.

Fiat Chrysler has expressly acknowledged in other unrelated safety recalls that “an engine stall could cause a crash without prior warning.”

The oil consumption defect causes excess oil to enter into the vehicles’ exhaust systems. Oil in the exhaust systems will compromise the oxygen sensors and the catalytic converter, which converts the harmful emissions produced during the combustion process into less harmful gases, resulting in the second excess emissions defect.

As a result of this defect, vehicles may have been emitting harmful emissions at levels that, unknown to the consumer, are in excess of state and federal regulations. There was no indication of the excess emissions defect until Fiat Chrysler disclosed in an SEC filing that

[i]n connection with internal testing, we determined that approximately 1 million vehicles equipped with the 2.4L Tigershark engine may have excess tailpipe emissions.

The third defect arises because the sudden engine shutoffs caused by the oil consumption defect could be avoided if Fiat Chrysler’s oil indicator system alerted drivers that their engine oil was running low, but it does not. This oil indicator defect means that drivers of the affected vehicles may only become aware of a dangerously low engine-oil level after it causes an engine stall or shutdown.

In fact, these vehicles may shut down without warning even when the oil change indicator does not yet recommend an oil change.

How does the defect violate the affected vehicle warranty?

Fiat Chrysler provided consumer and the members of the nationwide class with written warranties wherein Fiat Chrysler promised to fix any defect in design or manufacture during the applicable warranty period. Fiat Chrysler also expressly warranted in advertisements and consumer-facing communications, including on the window stickers themselves that were affixed to the vehicles, that the vehicles were safe and reliable.

Fiat Chrysler is alleged to have breached these express warranties because the vehicles contain the oil consumption, oil indicator, and excess emissions defects.

Fiat Chrysler also impliedly warranted (obligations the law “implies” in the sale, even if not directly stated) that the 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 allegedly suffer from the oil consumption defect, oil indicator defect, and the excess emissions defect. Based on these defects, the complaint alleges the vehicles are defective, unmerchantable, and unfit for their ordinary, intended purpose.

Fiat Chrysler has known about the oil consumption and oil indicator defects, as hundreds of vehicle owners and lessees have reported instances of their vehicles shutting down without warning due to low oil levels and/or pressure. Fiat Chrysler has also known about the excess emissions defect through its own pre-release testing of the vehicles or the testing reflected in their resent SEC filings.

Do All the Tigershark Engines Excessively Burn Oil?

The extent of the oil burning and other defects appears common to the engine.

Are Cars with the Tigershark Engine Unsafe?

We believe any car that stalls or has a significant chance of stalling is unsafe.

Have the consumers been offered anything to resolve this issue?

Fiat Chrysler has not publicly admitted these vehicles are affected by the three defects discussed above or has engaged in efforts to conceal some of them by describing the excess oil consumption as “normal” in a technical service bulletin.

Fiat Chrysler has not offered any relief to consumers who experience these issues. There have been claimed fixes of the engine, but according to Plaintiffs in the lawsuits it did not appear to resolve these issues.

What is the status of the Tigershark class action lawsuit?

The case was consolidated with multiple similar cases on August 6, 2020, and interim class counsel appointed on September 4, 2020.

Plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Master Class Action Complaint on October 21, 2020.

The parties filed a joint status report saying all parties were actively participating in mediation on February 4, 2021. The case was then stayed (put on hold) pending settlement negotiations.

According to the parties in their most recent report to the Court, during the time the case has been stayed, the parties have participated in three mediation sessions, exchanged numerous communications, and engaged in substantial discovery to advance the Parties’ mediation efforts.

The parties have stipulated to several extensions of the current stay of proceedings while the parties engage in settlement discussions. According to the parties in their most recent report to the Court, during the time the case has been stayed, the parties have participated in numerous mediation sessions, and engaged in substantial discovery to advance the parties’ mediation efforts. The last stay expired as of November 1, 2021. The parties have told the Court they anticipate they will know whether a settlement is possible within the next 30 days, so any time soon, and will shortly be filing a report with the Court on the status of those mediation efforts. We will provide updates as soon as they become publicly available.

Has the class action lawsuit been settled?

While there have been numerous references to a mediation and the case has been stayed for nine months pending settlement negotiations, at the present time there has been no formal announcement of a class action settlement.

Is there anything I need to do at this time? When do I need to Decide What to Do?

At this point in time, the case has not settled. It also has not been certified to proceed as a class action. If you decide you want to bring your own lemon law claim, you can do so now and opt-out of the class action when you receive the official notice. Or the class may be defined as those people who have not filed individual lawsuits or settled their claims, and you will be automatically opted out of the settlement.

As settlement has not been reached nor a class certified, there is nothing you are legally required to do at this time.

However, there is no reason to wait. If you would like to discuss your options with a lemon law lawyer, simply 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 Settlement?

It depends on how the settlement is structured, but in general 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 filling out and submitting a claim form. However, you will not be able to get more than the class action settlement benefits or bring any individual case over the defect in the Tigershark engine, except possibly for personal injury claims.

Why Should I Opt Out of Any Certified Class 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 that is described in the class notice.

However, other people who are informed of their legal 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 would be entitled to get more if they do not participate in the class action settlement and go their own way with their own lawyer.

Your ability to pursue an individual claim can depend 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 car, is it still under warranty and where you bought the car – among other factors.

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?

Song-Beverly, 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, for example.

The defects have to be important, and must “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, OR safety.” Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2). Under Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers are required to promptly offer repurchase or replacement of the Vehicle they cannot fix in a reasonable time frame.

In addition, Civil Code §1794(c) and §1793.2(d) provides that customers are entitled to a civil penalty in an amount up to two times actual damages if manufacturers acted “willfully” (meaning knowingly, but not necessarily with wrongful or malicious intent) in ignoring or failing its obligation under Song-Beverly.

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

What Relief Could I Get If I Opt Out and Bring an Individual Lawsuit Over the Tigershark Defect?

Current or former owners should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force Fiat Chrysler to either “buy the vehicle back,” or provide other important compensation.

handing keys over to carUnder California’s lemon law, qualifying “lemons” must be bought back, and that can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease. The refund 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.

In fact, you could even qualify for two-times your money back, depending on the circumstances. What Fiat Chrysler would have to buy it for has absolutely nothing to do with how much the vehicle is currently worth. 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 qualified consumer attorney who has your individual best interest in mind.

Watch the mail, watch your email, and contact a consumer lemon law lawyer for advice when and if the case settles.

Contact Us With Any Questions

There are a lot of factors to consider in deciding whether to opt out of a class action settlement and pursue individual claims. We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision as to your options.

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

Free Lemon Law Consultation

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