Plaintiffs allege that Volvo, despite longstanding knowledge of a material design defect, failed to disclose to consumers that certain vehicle models were predisposed to a sunroof drainage system defect. The defect leads to the accumulation of dirt, debris, and other naturally occurring particles within the sunroof water drainage system. The defect would manifest shortly after the limited warranty on the vehicle expired and caused extensive damage to the model vehicles due to the ingress of water, which accumulates within the passenger compartment of the vehicles.
The complaint alleges that the sunroof drainage defect poses a serious safety risk to the operator of the vehicle because the accumulating water can damage important electrical systems/sensors. For examples, all vehicle models predisposed to the defect come equipped with an Electronic Stability Control (“ESC”), which is a safety feature which constantly monitors driver and road conditions while automatically applying the brakes to individual wheels and reducing engine power as needed to improve handling and steering control under all conditions, without the need for driver input. The ESC is made up of many sensors, one of which, in the Volvo vehicles, is located on the passenger side floorboard, under the front passenger seat. The sensor often becomes water damaged as a result of the defect and cease to function properly thereby disabling the ESC system. This poses a serious safety risk to the driver, occupants of the car and the public.
In addition, the model cars often have the audio system components and related wiring located under the front passenger seat, where the water accumulates due to the defect, thus damaging the system.
The Plaintiffs allege that Volvo knew of the defect through their own records of customer complaints, repair records from Volvo dealerships, records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many warranty claims. Nevertheless, Volvo failed to notify its customers of the existence and extent of the sunroof drainage system and failed to provide an adequate remedy.
Plaintiff Collopy experienced damage to her vehicle when she noticed water accumulation and mold within the interior compartment of her car. When she brought the car for repair, she was charged approximately $1,200 for de-clogging the draining tubes of the sunroof drainage system, replace all carpeting in the car and fixing of the padding of the car due to the water damage. Despite all evidence to the defect, Volvo refused to at least investigate the cause of the damage or address Plaintiff Collopy’s concerns stating that it was not covered by the car’s warranty.
This lawsuit alleges that certain models Volvo have defective sunroofs and this defect allows water and moisture to seep into the floor pan causing property damage. Volvo lost its motion for summary judgment. It appears that the Federal Circuit court vacated that order. I will check the status in December 2015. The procedural status is confusing.