— A Dodge Dart clutch recall allegedly should have been issued long ago for cars equipped with Fiat C635 manual transmissions built on or before November 12, 2014.
According to the class action lawsuit, 2013-2015 Dodge Darts are equipped with clutch pedals that fall to the floorboards and remain on the floors, blocking drivers from shifting gears.
The original lawsuit was filed by two Dodge Dart owners in 2016 to include cars nationwide, but the current class action involves:
"All persons who purchased or leased in California, from an authorized dealership, a new Class Vehicle primarily for personal, family or household purposes."
According to the one remaining plaintiff who sued, Fiat Chrysler knew about the clutch problems because the automaker issued technical service bulletins and created customer satisfaction programs for Dart owners.
However, the plaintiff claims Dodge Dart owners haven't been helped because Chrysler used the same defective parts for replacements.
The automaker says a Dodge Dart extended warranty was created because contaminated hydraulic fluid could cause the clutch reservoir hoses to fail.
Dodge Dart owners were also offered reimbursements if the clutches were replaced, and dealers would also replace the hydraulic clutch master cylinders and reservoir hoses for 2013-2015 Dodge Darts.
In June 2018, the judge denied to certify the lawsuit as a class action based on a separate ruling involving Nissan, titled Nguyen v. Nissan. But in July 2019, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of class certification in Nguyen and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Relying on the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning in Nguyen, in October 2019, the judge granted the Dodge Dart plaintiff’s renewed motion for class action certification.
The judge denied Chrysler's motion to decertify the class action in May 2020, then the automaker filed a petition for permission to appeal the ruling.
However, on August 31, 2020, the Ninth Circuit denied Fiat Chrysler’s petition for permission to appeal.
Chrysler filed a motion for reconsideration of the court’s order denying the motion to decertify in November 2020, a request the judge denied in February 2021.
But in July 2021, Chrysler filed another motion to decertify the class action based on two recent Supreme Court rulings.
In short, the automaker argues the evidence shows more than 80% of California Dodge Dart class members in this case suffered no injury at all, which means the class action must be decertified.
However, the judge once again denied Chrysler's motion to decertify the California class of 2013-2015 Dodge Dart owners.
The Dodge Dart clutch class action 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.