— A Subaru class action lawsuit is being debated in a New Jersey courtroom as Impreza WRX and WRX STI owners argue the pistons, positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) systems and engine management systems cause ringland failures.
The Subaru class action says 2009-2018 Impreza WRX and WRX STI engines fail at 60,000 miles when they should last at least 120,000 miles.
The class action lawsuit alleges the piston ringlands are too brittle to handle the power of the engines. Additionally, the PCV system allows an abnormal amount of crankcase oil vapors into the combustion chamber.
Impreza WRX drivers complain the engines lose power and stall when the engines seize from overheating.
Driving the cars is allegedly dangerous because a stalled engine will cause the car to lose power steering and power brakes.
All three Impreza WRX owners claim in the Subaru class action lawsuit that they paid thousands of dollars to replace the engines.
The class action alleges Subaru knowingly withheld information about the defective engine pistons or piston ringlands in the Impreza WRX and WRX STI cars.
Motion to Dismiss the Subaru Class Action Lawsuit
In a motion to dismiss the Subaru Impreza WRX class action lawsuit, the judge gave a green light to the dismissal of a Michigan Consumer Protection Act claim. Subaru argues the claim is futile because auto sales are exempt from the Act, and the judge agreed based on recent case law.
However, it didn't go as well for Subaru regarding a negligent misrepresentation claim under Michigan law, which says a plaintiff must allege he “justifiably relied to his detriment on information prepared without reasonable care by one who owed [the plaintiff] a duty of care.”
Subaru argues the Plaintiffs fail to “allege that [Subaru] made any representations to [the plaintiff] as part of a sales transaction” because “he purchased his car used from a third-party seller.”
In other words, Subaru argues because a plaintiff [Hinshaw] purchased his used Impreza WRX from a third-party seller, Subaru could not have provided misleading information to the plaintiff.
However, the plaintiffs argue the “misrepresentations relied upon by Hinshaw were set out in his class vehicle’s Owner’s Manual and Warranty & Maintenance Booklet materials,” even if he did not rely on misrepresentations made by Subaru personnel.
With respect to Subaru owner’s manuals generally, the class action lawsuit alleges the automaker also negligently and recklessly misrepresented information in the WRX owner’s manuals by using incorrect engine maintenance and service recommendations.
The class action alleges, “[t]he Owner’s Manual and Warranty & Maintenance Booklet materials accompanying class vehicles do not contain any maintenance or service information for defective class engine pistons or piston ringlands.”
According to the lawsuit, this failure to include ringland maintenance rendered the owner’s manuals misleading because the manuals otherwise “have maintenance schedules that extend to 120,000.
By allowing the Subaru class action lawsuit to proceed, Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez ruled:
"At this stage of the litigation, the Court must accept as true that Plaintiff Hinshaw reviewed the owner’s manual for his Subaru vehicle and relied to his detriment on the manual’s incomplete representations about 'service intervals' for the engine pistons or piston ringlands. Thus, Plaintiffs do plead facts stating that Subaru misrepresented information to Plaintiff Hinshaw even though he did not purchase a vehicle directly from Subaru."
The court will permit the plaintiffs to file a second amended lawsuit that includes plaintiff Hinshaw’s negligent misrepresentation claim only.
The Subaru class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey - Amato, et al., v. Subaru of America, Inc., et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C., and Thomas P Sobran PC.