Continuously variable transmissions are allegedly defective and dangerous in 2019-2020 Altimas.

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Nissan Altima Transmission Lawsuit Moves Forward
Continuously variable transmissions are allegedly defective and dangerous in 2019-2020 Altimas.

— A Nissan Altima transmission class action lawsuit is moving forward in court as owners claim the continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) are defective.

The seven plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit assert the transmissions cause the Altimas to jerk, shudder, shake and finally stall.

Included in the CVT class action lawsuit are 2019-2020 Nissan Altima cars.

Additional alleged problems include acceleration issues that allegedly make driving extremely dangerous.

Other Nissan CVT lawsuits have been filed, including Norman v. Nissan and Busler v. Nissan.

But the judge notes the class actions have been "marked by some degree of uncertainty regarding what, exactly, is supposedly wrong with the Nissan CVT—other than the general allegation that the system, as a whole, is prone to malfunction."

Calling it a "fundamentally circular definition," the judge says the plaintiffs define the transmission defects simply to be “one or more design and/or manufacturing defects that can cause [the CVT] to malfunction.”

"What the plaintiffs lack in specificity, they seek to make up for with a wealth of anecdotal evidence of the transmission’s problems, whatever their root cause." — Judge Aleta A. Trauger

The plaintiffs contend Nissan “actively concealed the true nature and extent” of the problem. And the lawsuit also alleges Nissan knew of problems because technical service bulletins (TSBs) about the CVTs were issued to dealerships.

Nissan Files Motion to Dismiss Altima Transmission Lawsuit

Nissan filed a motion to dismiss which the judge, for the most part, denied.

Beginning with fraudulent omission and state consumer protection claims, Nissan argues the claims should be dismissed because the plaintiffs, “cannot specify the defect they claim existed.”

But the judge found a vehicle defect may exist if an Altima doesn't have a "reliably functioning transmission."

According to Judge Trauger, the plaintiffs have explained why they believe "dangerous symptoms" while driving were a result of the CVTs.

Nissan also argues the plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged Nissan was aware of the so-called transmission defect.

But the judge ruled the plaintiffs’ allegations regarding Nissan’s history with the CVT "plainly supports an inference of knowledge, and that inference is supported" by technical service bulletins and consumer complaints.

The judge also heard Nissan argue the judge should dismiss claims for breach of implied warranties. According to Nissan, the transmission lawsuit allegations at the most only mean the Altimas performed worse than expected, not that they were unfit for ordinary use.

However, the judge disagreed and said breach of implied warranty claims can continue.

In the end, the judge dismissed only unjust enrichment claims from all plaintiffs except two.

The Nissan Altima transmission lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee: Simpson, et al., v. Nissan of North America, Inc., et al.

The plaintiffs are represented by Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC, and Greenstone Law APC.


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