— A Mercedes-Benz burl walnut wood trim class action lawsuit is trying to move through court, but the automaker is trying to convince the judge the case should be permanently dismissed.
The plaintiff alleges 2009-2016 E-Class vehicles are equipped with wood trim that fades on the dashboards, center consoles and doors.
According to the class action, the plaintiff purchased her vehicle used, but it came with a pre-owned warranty that allegedly didn't cover the trim.
A technical service bulletin, TSB LI68.10-P-050, allegedly proves Mercedes knew about the trim problems in 2010 when the automaker informed dealers about faded and discolored wood trim. The TSB specifically said the burl walnut trim could fade due to a lack of ultraviolet ray protection.
Various areas of trim could be affected and the answer was to replace the wood trim.
One of the affected areas was an airbag label, and the lawsuit alleges dealer technicians allegedly were told to relocate the label to an area on the instrument or lower control panel. This allegedly concealed any future discoloration on the wood trim so drivers wouldn't know how much damage had occurred.
The plaintiff also says a second bulletin was issued in 2015 and entitled, “Fading of Wood Trim in Model Series 212 Technical Service Bulletin.” This bulletin also mentioned damage caused by UV rays and dealers again were told to replace the burl walnut trim.
According to the lawsuit, hundreds of thousands of E-Class vehicles are affected by burl walnut wood trim defects that may cost owners thousands of dollars to repair.
Mercedes-Benz filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit by telling the judge that wood in a vehicle, any vehicle, can fade over time when exposed to sunlight. But even with that allegedly common knowledge, the plaintiffs who sued allegedly don't realize the warranties exclude coverage for that sort of "defect."
In addition, Mercedes argues implied warranty claims made by the plaintiffs are doomed because the alleged defects in the wood are cosmetic. Those issues allegedly do not affect the use of the vehicle and don't pose any safety problems.
Mercedes also argues the lawsuit alleges express warranty claims against both Mercedes and Daimler, even though only Mercedes issued the warranties.
The plaintiffs further argue they believed their used vehicles would be “free of defects.” But attorneys for Mercedes argue the new vehicle limited warranty contradicts this belief because the warranty says trim defects are “normally taken care of” during the new vehicle inspection process.
Mercedes also says new owners are informed problems with trim due to “use and exposure” are not covered by the warranties.
According to the lawsuit, “Burl Walnut Wood Trim specifically is known to last 20+ years without discoloration, fading, or developing a cloudy appearance,” but Mercedes says the plaintiffs "plead no facts in support of this bare allegation, much less plead any representations from Defendants that could have reasonably led Plaintiffs to hold this belief."
In its motion to dismiss, Mercedes says the plaintiffs mention advertisements because owners cannot name any specific representation in which Mercedes promised the vehicles would be free of defects.
The plaintiff mentions alleged advertisements describing the vehicles as “state-of-the-art,” “luxury” and “the most advanced vehicles on the road." But attorneys for Mercedes argue those statements are "non-actionable puffery."
In addition, the plaintiffs allegedly never claim they saw or relied on any specific advertisements before they purchased their used vehicles.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the plaintiffs also fail by alleging the warranties cover design defects because the "warranties specifically exclude coverage for trim-related issues. Moreover, Plaintiffs fail to allege facts showing that their vehicles were still under warranty when they presented them for repair."
The Mercedes burl walnut wood trim lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division: Callen, et al., v. Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.
The plaintiffs are represented by Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC.