A CA federal judge he’s leaning toward decertifying a class of Texas drivers suing General Motors Co. over an engine defect that allegedly sparks fire, saying he doesn’t think Texas’ manifest defect rule would permit it, but added he’s not likely to decertify a class of NC drivers.

U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen said that he didn’t think a class of Texas vehicle owners claiming a breach of implied warranty of merchantability — whom he had previously granted class certification, along with vehicle owners in California, North Carolina and Idaho — had sufficiently alleged under Texas’ manifest defect rule that an engine defect affected the operation of their GM vehicles.

Judge Chen agreed with GM, saying that if you look at the Texas cases, “manifest seems to mean something that actually affects the operation of the car,” such as a seat belt not working, pulsing of the car or a defective ignition.

Consumers’ claims against the Michigan-based automaker date back to December 2016, when they brought a putative class action alleging that the Generation IV Vortec 5300 LC9 engine contained internal defects that cause the engine to consume high amounts of oil and could lead to safety risks. They allege that the primary cause of the defect is the piston rings installed by GM.

Since the initial complaint was filed, the vehicle owners amended their complaint multiple times and Judge Chen trimmed some claims from the suit. The parties also agreed to follow a bellwether process for class certification.

The classes cover owners of Chevrolet’s Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban and Tahoe vehicles and GMC’s Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL vehicles from model years 2011 to 2014 with LC9 engines.


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