On September 26, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division appointed Theodore J. Leopold, as Lead Counsel and Plaintiff Steering Committee Chair to consolidate and oversee the putative consumer class actions against General Motors (“GM”) before the court.

On September 30, 2109, Cohen Milstein filed a consolidated class action lawsuit against GM on behalf of Plaintiffs in multiple states who purchased or leased new and used vehicles manufactured by GM for breach of warranty and deceptive and fraudulent business practices related to the manufacture and sale of defective eight-speed automatic transmissions (GM 8L90 or the 8L45), both manufactured by GM between 2015 and 2019.

These states include Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Plaintiffs bring claims under each state’s consumer protection statutes, and express and implied warranty law of their respective states of purchase or lease.

Case Background

Plaintiffs allege that vehicles manufactured by GM between 2015-2018 equipped with one of two models of eight-speed automatic transmissions – the GM 8L90 or the 8L45 – have a common defect. Plaintiffs claim that while attempting to accelerate or decelerate their cars feel a hesitation, followed by a significant shake, shudder, jerk, clunk, or “hard shift” when the vehicle’s automatic transmission changes gears, as well as when the subject vehicles are accelerated in a single gear, and not actively shifting gears.

Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that the problem (the “Transmission Defect”) is related to internal issues within the transmission and/or torque converter causing friction surfaces, hydraulic systems, and gears to not function properly, and resulting in metal shavings being circulated throughout the transmission. Over time, damage to the transmission and torque converter occurs, subjecting consumers to escalating repairs. As such, the Transmission Defect endangers the drivers and passengers of the vehicles, and diminishes the value of the vehicles. GM’s deliberate non-disclosure of these defects artificially inflated the purchase and lease price for these vehicles.

Plaintiffs further claim that GM has known about the Transmission Defect for years. Since 2015, GM has issued thirteen versions of a “technical service bulletin,” or “TSB,” related to this shifting issue alone. The TSBs related to the transmission issue have advised dealerships to, among other things: complete the “clutch drive learn procedure,” replace the valve body, replace the entire transmission, flush the cooler lines and cooler, remove debris from and clean the transmission pan, replace the transmission filter, replace the transmission fluid, and flush the transmission.

Other plaintiff claims include:

  • GM did not disclose the Transmission Defect to purchasers or lessees like Plaintiffs at the point of purchase or through advertisements. GM’s omissions artificially inflated the market price for the Subject Vehicles equipped with defective transmissions. GM could have and should have warned consumers about the Transmission Defect through advertisements, on its website, and through communications from its authorized dealers. However, GM failed to do so.
  • The GM 8L90 and GM 8L45 transmission defect is a latent defect that presents a safety risk to riders, causes damage to components over time, and makes vehicles equipped with the defective transmissions dangerous and uncomfortable to ride. It makes the Subject Vehicles unfit for their ordinary use. As such, the Transmission Defect presents a breach of the implied warranty of merchantability.
  • GM had knowledge of the Transmission Defect before it sold cars equipped with GM 8L90 or GM 8L45 transmissions. As such, GM’s durational and mileage limitations on its express warranty and the implied warranty of merchantability are unconscionable.

Case Names: Francis, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, Case No. 19-11044; Shelton, et al. v. General Motors, Case No. 19-11802; Ray v. General Motors, Case No. 19-11808; Duffy, et al. v. General Motors, Case No. 19-11875; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.