Jeep Cherokee owner claims the electronic parking brake suddenly engages while driving.

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Jeep Parking Brake Lawsuit is Baseless, Alleges FCA
Jeep Cherokee owner claims the electronic parking brake suddenly engages while driving.

— A Jeep parking brake class action lawsuit alleges the electronic parking brakes get stuck while the Jeeps are in motion.

The Jeep electronic parking brake lawsuit alleges the Jeep Cherokee brake “will inadvertently activate and stop the vehicle while in motion or cause the rear wheels to lock up.”

However, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) argues the plaintiff who sued does not allege either circumstance has ever happened to her Jeep Cherokee.

The Jeep Cherokee electronic parking brake class action lawsuit alleges a defect “allows water to leak” and “causing the Electronic Parking Brake module to corrode or otherwise fail.”

In May 2019, California plaintiff Ruth Areias purchased a new 2019 Jeep Cherokee that allegedly experienced the parking brake problem on numerous occasions.

But FCA references the class action lawsuit that says the plaintiff mentions only two incidents of the parking brake engaging, but while her Jeep was stopped, not in motion.

The first incident in January 2020 occurred during an “attempt[] to take off from a stationary position,” and it caused her to “make several attempts to disengage the EPB [electronic parking brake] system before it released.”

The same thing allegedly occurred in August 2022 while the Jeep Cherokee was in “a stationary position.”

Chrysler argues the plaintiff does not claim the parking brake ever spontaneously activated or engaged while the Jeep was moving, nor does she allege the parking brake ever affected her use of the vehicle or caused her to stop driving it.

The lawsuit doesn't contend she took her Jeep Cherokee to a dealer or anyone else to be inspected or repaired.

According to the Jeep class action, about 1.3 million model year 2014-2020 Jeep Cherokees are defective due to the parking brakes.

Motion to Dismiss Jeep Parking Brake Lawsuit

FCA filed a motion to dismiss the Jeep parking brake lawsuit and told the judge all the claims should be dismissed. Chrysler began with the alleged violation of the express warranty.

The automaker says the 3-year/36,000-mile basic limited warranty covers only defects in material, workmanship, or factory preparation. But FCA argues the plaintiff's allegations are premised on an alleged “design” defect which is not covered by the warranty.

Chrysler then references a statement in the class action which asserts FCA knew the parking brake module “was not designed to be exposed to water.”

The plaintiff allegedly is also talking about a design defect because she says the parking brake is a “systemic problem” in all 1.3 million of the Jeeps.

And according to FCA, the implied warranty claims are no better because the plaintiff fails to plead facts showing her Jeep Cherokee is not merchantable. Chrysler argues courts have "repeatedly emphasized a defect must drastically undermine a device’s operation to render the device unmerchantable.”

The automaker also argues no implied warranty claim can be brought without pleading facts which show, "the plaintiff actually requested and was denied a repair during the warranty period, which Plaintiff does not do."

Furthermore, Chrysler says under Michigan law the plaintiff should have provided pre-lawsuit notice to FCA, but the plaintiff allegedly failed to do that.

In its motion to dismiss the Jeep parking brake lawsuit, Chrysler argues all fraud-based claims must be dismissed because the plaintiff allegedly fails to point to facts demonstrating anything false in the “uniform advertising” she refers to in the class action.

FCA further told the judge the plaintiff doesn't plead facts that she relied on "any specific representation when purchasing her vehicle."

And while the Jeep parking brake lawsuit references a Chrysler recall in August 2015, the recall concerned liftgate control modules, not the electronic parking brakes. And the recall involved vehicles manufactured four and five years before the plaintiff's Jeep Cherokee.

Furthermore, a technical service bulletin (TSB 08-060-16) referenced in the lawsuit does involve electronic parking brake module wiring harness connectors in 2014-2016 Jeep Cherokees.

But the automaker argues the TSB "simply outlines the recommended procedure for diagnosing and replacing the connector if corrosion was found." However, the bulletin doesn't identify any “defect” or even suggest one exists.

According to Fiat Chrysler:

"All that Plaintiff alleges here is trouble with her parking brake, a condition for which she never even sought to repair. But, even accepting the allegations as true, she pleads no facts tying this conduct to any legislative policy, any anti-competitive behavior, or anything “immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous or substantially injurious to consumers. A plaintiff cannot state a claim by simply labeling conduct as 'unfair.'”

The Jeep Cherokee parking brake class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: Ruth Areias v. FCA US LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC, and Bursor & Fisher, P.A.


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