In November 2016, Cohen Milstein, on behalf of purchasers of the Polaris Sportsman ATV, built between 2009 and 2016, filed a consumer fraud and product liability class action against Polaris Industries. Plaintiffs allege breach of implied warranty of merchantability, failure to warn, and unfair and deceptive marketing, regarding a common design defect of the ATV’s exhaust system.
Plaintiffs alleges that the Polaris Sportsman four-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) built between 2009 and 2016 have a common design defect. Extremely high temperature exhaust exits the engine and enters the exhaust pipe that is routed directly next to the right leg of the Sportsman rider under a thin plastic cover. The exhaust then proceeds through an exhaust pipe, under the rider’s seat, towards the right rear tire. The exhaust pipe gets so hot, that components of the Sportsman melt, including, but not limited to, side covers, seat, seat base, right-rear fender, and right foot well. Heat from the exhaust pipe also transfers to surrounding plastic and metal components which are designed to come in direct contact with the rider. As a result, Sportsman riders are directly exposed to temperatures of up to nearly 250 F and can sustain/have sustained burns to their right leg.
Plaintiffs further allege that Polaris has known about the exhaust heat defect for years. Polaris has publicly denied any exhaust heat defect until it publicly recalled in March 2017 some of the Sportsman ATVs, including models 450, 570, 850, and 1,000 manufactured between 2009 - 2016.
Furthermore, Plaintiffs allege that Polaris hid the exhaust heat defect from Sportsman purchasers at the point-of-sale, which would have impacted purchasing decisions and purchase price. Furthermore, Polaris’ omissions about the defect artificially inflated the market price for the ATVs.
Polaris could have and should have warned customers about the exhaust heat defect on its website, in its product brochures (available online and at Polaris dealerships), and through communications from its authorized dealers. However, Polaris failed to do so.
The case is Johannessohn, et al. v. Polaris Industries, Case No. 49157965, in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.