Judge rules class action for Kansas Chrysler customers can continue over lifetime warranty.

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Chrysler Lifetime Powertrain Warranty Lawsuit Proceeds
Judge rules class action for Kansas Chrysler customers can continue over lifetime warranty.

— A Chrysler lifetime powertrain warranty lawsuit won't be dismissed after Fiat Chrysler (FCA US) argued the vehicle owner waited too long to file the lawsuit.

The Chrysler lifetime powertrain warranty lawsuit was originally filed as a nationwide class action but was dropped to a Kansas class action when FCA filed its motion to dismiss. In addition, the plaintiff also withdrew a claim for fraud against Chrysler.

The current version of the lawsuit has the plaintiff seeking to represent consumers who purchased a vehicle from Chrysler in the state of Kansas and provided a lifetime powertrain warranty on or after October 31, 2009.

The warranty only covers the first registered owner or lessee and includes the following language about required inspections.

"In order to maintain the Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty, the person or entity covered by this Powertrain Limited Warranty must have a powertrain inspection performed by an authorized Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep dealer once every 5 years. This inspection will be performed at no charge. The inspection must be made within sixty (60) days of each 5 year anniversary of the in-service date of the vehicle. You must have the inspection performed to continue this coverage. For your convenience, powertrain inspection logs have been provided. You should use these logs to keep track of each 5 year powertrain inspection interval."

Since the date of his 2009 purchase, the plaintiff allegedly took his Ram to a Kansas Chrysler dealer every 3,000 miles for routine service and inspections. In December 2014, the plaintiff took the Ram to a dealer for an oil change.

During the oil change, technicians performed a 23-point inspection of the vehicle, but the plaintiff says he didn't know the powertrain inspection wasn't included.

In April 2016, the plaintiff noticed his Ram making ticking noises, so he took the vehicle to a dealer and technicians found broken bolts in or on the exhaust manifold. The plaintiff paid $1,323.53 to repair the bolts because Chrysler would not honor the warranty.

Even though a technical service bulletin had allegedly been issued for the exhaust manifold, the plaintiff says he was never reimbursed the money he paid for repairs.

According to the class action lawsuit, Chrysler should have marketed the lifetime powertrain warranty as a "5-year extendable warranty."

Chrysler's Motion to Dismiss the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty Lawsuit

In its motion to dismiss, Chrysler says the claim of violating the Kansas Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) should be dismissed because the three-year statute of limitations bars the claim. FCA argues the statute of limitations began when the plaintiff purchased his vehicle in 2009, yet he didn't file suit until November 2018.

But the plaintiff asserts the statute of limitations did not begin running until he had to pay for the vehicle repair on May 10, 2016, because Chrysler would not cover the cost under the lifetime powertrain warranty. The judge agreed and said the relevant question is when was the plaintiff "aggrieved."

"The Court concludes that the date is May 10, 2016. On that date, Plaintiff sustained monetary damages because he had to pay to have the vehicle repaired instead of having it covered by the lifetime warranty. Thus, because Plaintiff filed suit within three years of that date, his suit his timely and not barred by the statute of limitations." - Judge Eric F. Melgren

Chrysler also told the judge the plaintiff failed to plead any facts alleging a breach of warranty, but the judge disagreed. According to the plaintiff, Chrysler should have explained to him that it was his responsibility to "actively request a powertrain inspection."

The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff because the judge was viewing the allegations and facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.

Additionally, the judge allowed a claim for breach of implied warranty because of problems related to the exhaust manifold.

The Chrysler lifetime powertrain warranty lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas - Marksberry, et al., v. FCA US LLC, et al.

The plaintiff is represented by Bell Law, LLC.


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