Mazda Wants Engine Valve Defect Class Action Nixed
Mazda Motor of America Inc. filed a motion in New Jersey federal to dismiss a class action accusing itt of concealing an engine valve system defect in certain Mazda vehicles. The class action included warranty and consumer fraud claims against Mazda after it revealed some of its vehicles’ engines have faulty continuous variable valve-timing assemblies, causing the engine’s timing chain to loosen or detach, which can lead to partial or total engine failure.
Stevenson alleges that when he bought his 2008 Mazda CX7 from a New Jersey dealership in 2009, a Mazda representative concealed facts about the defect. Stevenson says that although the defect is covered under Mazda’s warranty, the automaker refuses to repair it. The company denies it knew of of the defect at the time of sale. Consumer complaints were filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Mazda contended a technical service bulletin the company issued in 2007 did not apply to Stevenson’s vehicle and the first time such a bulletin showed potential defects in his specific car was published in 2012, two and a half years after he bought the car.
Also, all warranty claims should be dismissed because Stevenson’s car problems first arose 3,500 miles after its warranty’s mileage limit was reached, Mazda said. Stevenson’s suit was filed less than two months after a similar putative class action over the alleged defect was dismissed in California. On July 3, a judge tossed the suit without prejudice but gave the lead plaintiff time to file an amended complaint, saying the plaintiff hadn’t specified when she purchased the vehicle for warranty purposes but that there is a basis for declaratory relief.
Mazda’s motion Monday sought to dismiss the suit’s New Jersey consumer fraud law claims and breach of implied warranty and fraudulent concealment claims. It also argued that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and express warranty claims should be dismissed to the extent they relate to an alleged promise Mazda’s vehicles would be defect-free. The case is Stevenson v. Mazda Motor of America Inc., case number 3:14-cv-05250, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.(excerpted in part from law360.com
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