Class Action Lawsuit Targets Nasty Mercedes-Benz HVAC Systems
A lawsuit filed by two Georgia Mercedes-Benz owners accuses the automaker of failing to rectify a long-standing HVAC problem and stiffing customers with the bill.
Sunil Amin and Trushar Patel claim the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in numerous models dating to the turn of the century are inherently faulty and want Mercedes-Benz and its parent, Daimler AG, to pay damages. They also want the suit to grow into a class action.
The plaintiffs say the issue started a noxious odor emitted from the vehicles’ vents and, despite attempts to have the issue fixed, nothing the automaker has done has made a difference.
Amin owns a 2013 Mercedes-Benz C250, while Patel owns a 2014 Mercedes E350. Both say the vehicles began emitting mold and mildew odors shortly after their purchase, attributing the unpleasant aroma to buildup of those growths in an improperly drained HVAC system.
The automaker knew about the problems well in advance of the sale of their vehicles, the suit claims. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, points to technical service bulletins issued by Mercedes in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2016. Each TSB sent to dealers describes a moldy odor. Complaints were also logged with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s Office of Defect Investigation as early as 2008.
While the dealer documents gave tips on how to remove the odors, the plaintiffs claim the “inadequate and temporary solutions” are merely “band aids.” Attempts to fix the issue by replacing the cabin air filter, “flushing the system” and applying cleaning agents didn’t work, they allege, adding the job wasn’t covered under warranty.
Because of this, they claim, owners will likely incur out-of-pocket expenses for a long time. Hence the class action, which is open to all Georgia Mercedes drivers.
The plaintiffs, represented by Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, were dismissed from a similar California class action in March after a U.S. District Court judge demanded only California residents behind the suit. Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. of the Central District of California has allowed the suit to advance.
Numerous models sold between 1999 and 2017 are named in the Georgia lawsuit. Those vehicles include various model years of nearly every vehicle in the Mercedes lineup, as the models contained identical or similar HVAC systems at different times.
[Source: Law360] [Image: Mercedes-Benz]
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