— A Dodge Dart transmission lawsuit will continue after U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel refused to dismiss the complaint.
The Dart owners claim there are problems with the manual transmissions installed in the Dodge Darts that can cause the cars to stall and experience transmission failures.
The Dodge Dart lawsuit involves model years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 cars with clutches that allegedly fail and cause the clutch pedals to lose pressure and stay on the floorboards. The plaintiffs say the cars suffer from acceleration problems as well as stalling and total transmission failure.
Fiat Chrysler (FCA) says any problems with the slave cylinders, master cylinders and transmissions are caused by normal wear and tear. The plaintiffs say repairs can cost more than $1,000 and the automaker leaves it up to owners to cover the costs.
FCA already tried to get the lawsuit dismissed in 2016 but the judge denied the motion and let the suit continue. The plaintiffs say Chrysler has known about the transmission problems for years and even got a prior lawsuit dismissed by ordering a customer satisfaction program for clutches that went "soft" and "stuck to the floors."
The automaker also sent a technical service bulletin to dealers about Dodge Darts equipped with defective clutch slave cylinders that could cause a hydraulic fluid leak which leads to a pressure loss in the clutch system and failure of the clutch pedal. FCA also extended the warranty period for clutch master cylinders and reservoir hoses in 2013-2015 Darts.
The plaintiffs claim a warranty offered by FCA doesn't really fix the clutch problems because fluid contamination continues because all hoses, slave cylinders and other parts aren't replaced.
The plaintiffs claim the slave cylinder has a plastic base clipped to the cylinder, and the plastic makes the slave cylinder weaker than normal and causes it to move around and affect the piston. This causes heat that damages engine parts.
The judge told both sides the case is a mess as each side doesn't seem to be addressing what the lawsuit actually concerns. The judge says Chrysler is focusing on certain things while the plaintiffs are including things not mentioned in the lawsuit.
According to the judge, the lawsuit is supposed to be about defective clutch master cylinders damaged by contamination. Maybe other parts are affected by the master cylinders, but the heart of the lawsuit is the master cylinders in the Darts.
Chrysler says the plaintiffs are now trying to add a new defective part and shouldn't be allowed to do that at this stage of the game. But the judge disagreed and said he will allow the plaintiffs to amend the lawsuit to include additional parts related to the transmissions. The main part referenced is the slave cylinder.
The judge also ruled the case should continue because Dart owners may be able to prove the clutch problems are caused by more than just normal wear and tear.
The Dodge Dart transmission lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California - Victorino et al, v. FCA US LLC.
The plaintiffs are represented by Capstone Law APC.