— A Mercedes-Benz class action lawsuit wasn't certified in a California court after the judge ruled the plaintiff couldn't represent owners who allege their transmissions are defective.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all California owners and lessees of Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with 722.9 7G-Tronic transmissions.
California plaintiff Terry Hamm is the owner of a 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK350 vehicle he purchased used in December 2012 from a Toyota dealership. The plaintiff is the fourth owner of the vehicle.
The Mercedes transmission lawsuit alleges defects cause the vehicles to enter limp mode which prevents the vehicles from shifting or accelerating. The plaintiff says his 7G-Tronic transmission locked into low gear and blocked the vehicle from accelerating. The Mercedes check engine light also illuminated.
Hamm says he paid $1,051.18 to replace the transmission’s conductor plate and to reprogram its valve body.
The Mercedes-Benz lawsuit alleges Mercedes knew the transmissions were allegedly defective but failed to disclose the facts to consumers. In addition, all California Mercedes 7G-Tronic customers allegedly paid too much for their vehicles.
Motion to Dismiss the Mercedes Transmission Class Action
The judge quickly found confusion with which version of the 722.9 transmission is in Hamm's vehicle. The plaintiff claims his Mercedes is equipped with the VGS1 version of the 722.9 transmission, but the automaker says the vehicle is really equipped with the VGS2 version of the 7G-Tronic transmission.
The judge ruled that since the plaintiff's vehicle is not equipped with the VGS1 version of the 722.9 transmission, there cannot be a VGS1 subclass of owners represented by Hamm.
In its motion to dismiss the Mercedes class action lawsuit, the automaker argues the plaintiff cannot represent vehicle owners because he “purchased his 7-year old used vehicle from a Toyota dealership without ever interacting with MBUSA [Mercedes] or reviewing any materials from it; he only glanced at unaffiliated third-party websites.”
According to Mercedes, the plaintiff's situation isn't typical of other California Mercedes owners.
The judge agreed and said the plaintiff "may be subject to unique defenses that would render his claims atypical to those of the class."
Judge Edward J. Davila also agreed with Mercedes when the automaker argued vehicle owners who had parts of their transmissions “replaced for free under warranty or goodwill” do not have an injury, and "their inclusion would render the class impermissibly overbroad."
Mercedes-Benz also told the judge the vast majority of owners with vehicles equipped with 722.9 transmissions never experienced any problems with the transmissions. Then the automaker referenced an extremely low 0.13% warranty rate for claims related to the 722.9 7G-Tronic transmissions.
The Mercedes transmission class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division: Hamm v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.
The plaintiffs are represented by the Katriel Law Firm, Braun Law Group, P.C., and Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.