General Motors wins dismissal of class action which alleges hard brake pedals make driving dangerous

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GM Brake Vacuum Pump Lawsuit Dismissed
General Motors wins dismissal of class action which alleges hard brake pedals make driving dangerous

— A GM brake vacuum pump lawsuit has been dismissed after a Chevrolet Tahoe owner alleged her SUV suffered from hard brake pedals and brake failures several times.

Included in the class action lawsuit are these GM models:

  • 2015 to present Cadillac Escalade
  • 2014 to present Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2015 to present Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2015 to present Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2014 to present GMC Sierra
  • 2015 to present GMC Yukon / Yukon XL

According to the brake vacuum pump lawsuit, plaintiff Amber Quitno purchased a new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe which had brake problems in the summer of 2018.

The first incident occurred when she applied the brakes as the wheel was turned while backing out of her driveway. The plaintiff says the brakes felt “hard and wouldn’t slow the vehicle” and the Tahoe hit another car parked near her driveway.

She says she paid the owner of the other car $50 and her Tahoe had a broken rear tail light, a bent bumper and a bent side fender.

The GM brake vacuum pump class action also alleges the Tahoe brakes failed a few months later while the plaintiff was reversing out of a parking space. The plaintiff claims she got the Tahoe stopped by standing on the brake pedal with her full weight. She says she shifted into PARK and turned off the engine which reactivated the brakes.

According to the lawsuit, she again tried to back up but the brakes allegedly failed and the plaintiff had to use her weight to stop the Tahoe. She later tested the brakes and they worked, allowing her to drive home and park the Tahoe.

She says she tried to take the Tahoe to a dealer the next day but the brakes failed again, so she called the dealership but was told the warranty expired four days before.

A dealership employee did pick up vehicle for a diagnostic check and the plaintiff allegedly asked the dealership to check the brake vacuum.

"That separate test did reveal a brake pressure problem: the dealership stated that brake pressure should be -13, but the brake pressure on plaintiff’s car was -9 sitting and -3 on depression. The dealership subsequently ordered and installed a replacement, costing around four hundred dollars." - GM brake vacuum pump lawsuit

According to the vacuum pump lawsuit, General Motors allegedly knew about the pump problems before the plaintiff purchased her 2015 Tahoe. But the automaker allegedly concealed the defects from her and all affected customers.

GM Files Motion to Dismiss the Brake Vacuum Pump Lawsuit

In its motion to dismiss, GM argued the plaintiff failed to plead a valid claim based on alleged deceptive conduct or unfair practices under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

The judge agreed and ruled the plaintiff's claims were too vague and generalized concerning alleged statements GM made about the Tahoe. The judge also found the plaintiff failed to explain language in the warranty that deceived her, falling short of pleading "with particularity a misrepresentation attributable to Defendant."

In the motion to dismiss the brake vacuum pump lawsuit, GM also argued a breach of state law implied warranty claim failed because under Illinois law, to recover under a breach of implied warranty claim the plaintiff must show privity of contract between herself and GM.

But the judge ruled the brake vacuum pump lawsuit specifically says she was not in privity with General Motors, causing the judge to dismiss the implied warranty claim. And because the warranty claim failed, her Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim necessarily failed.

This left just one unjust enrichment claim for the judge to consider. The judge said to establish an unjust enrichment claim, “a plaintiff must allege that the defendant has unjustly retained a benefit to the plaintiff’s detriment, and that defendant’s retention of the benefit violates the fundamental principles of justice, equity, and good conscience.”

However, her claim was based upon the same allegedly deceptive conduct as her Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act claim, a claim which was dismissed by the judge.

Therefore the judge dismissed the entire lawsuit, and according to court documents, "this matter has resolved on an individual basis."

The GM brake vacuum pump lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division: Quitno, et al., v. General Motors, LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by Stephan Zouras, LLP, and Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP.


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