— BMW soft-close doors have caused another lawsuit, this time from an owner who alleges the tip of her thumb was smashed in the door of her BMW 750Li.
Plaintiff Alexis Fields claims that although she is a stay-at-home mom, her smashed thumb has caused her to lose about $500,000 in future wages because she planned to one day return to work as a school teacher and tutor.
The plaintiff says the incident occurred in October 2016 when she exited the driver-side door and turned around to face the interior of the vehicle to reach in for her purse. Fields says her right hand rested on the door frame between the door pillar, with her right thumb facing outward.
Although the soft-close door allegedly activates when the door is about 6 mm (1/4 of an inch) from the door frame, the plaintiff claims the sensor triggered the electric motor when the door was about halfway open. This allegedly pulled the door shut on the tip of her thumb until she manually opened the door to free her thumb.
According to the lawsuit:
"At the same time, Plaintiff, still in the midst of excruciating pain, somehow ~ willed herself behind the driver’s wheel and embarked on the two to five (2-5) minute drive to her home."
Once home, her husband drove her to an orthopedics clinic where the orthopedic surgeon found the "bones in the tip of the thumb had been broken."
BMW uses the soft-close doors to prevent people from slamming the doors and to diminish the noise from closing the doors. The technology will also allegedly make it easier to securely close the doors if parked in tight spaces.
Each door is equipped with a sensor that detects when the latch catches the handle, triggering the electric motor to pull the door shut. The technology will also activate to ensure the door is secured even if the door is manually pushed shut.
According to the plaintiff, BMW didn't use a safety sensor to detect when an object is in the path of the closing door, a sensor that would reverse the automatic closing of the door.
BMW's literature warns owners about the dangers of pinching by the doors, but the plaintiff says the soft-close door technology "falls nothing short of a modem-day guillotine..."
The plaintiff says it defies logic that BMW hasn't informed the public about the alleged defects in the soft-close door systems. However, BMW argues the technology does what it's advertised to do and is no more dangerous than traditional car doors.
According to the lawsuit, BMW has "dispersed and scattered their minions" to handle the "public relations crises" caused by soft-close door complaints from "around the nation and the world, as well as complaints and mandatory product recalls from government agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration..."
Vehicles with soft-close door systems have been recalled in the past, but not because of complaints about smashed body parts.
A May 2017 recall of vehicles with soft-close doors was caused by sensors that failed and allowed the doors to open while driving. Then a 2014 BMW recall involved vehicles with soft-close doors, but the recall was ordered because the child safety locks could fail.
A similar lawsuit was dismissed in California after the judge ruled that humans have been slamming their fingers in doors since doors were invented and the doors on BMW's vehicles are no exception.
The same attorney representing Mrs. Fields also filed a soft-close door lawsuit against BMW a few months ago alleging a New York man lost the tip of his thumb when it was smashed in the car door.
The BMW soft-close door sensor lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York - Alexis Fields and Seth Fields, v. BMW of North America, LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by the A. Cohen Law Firm, PC.