Nissan Reaches Settlement in Defective LEAF Battery Class Action
Nissan North America Inc. reached a class action settlement Monday over allegations that its electric-powered Nissan LEAF cars contain defective batteries that cause them to prematurely lose battery life and driving range. Under the deal, Nissan will expand its warranty for its 2011-2012 model year LEAF cars to cover battery capacity loss and repairs.
Nissan LEAF owners sued the automaker in September 2012, alleging that Nissan failed to disclose in its advertising that owners should avoid charging the battery beyond 80 percent in order to mitigate battery damage. Nissan also failed to disclose that the LEAF’s estimated 100-mile driving range was based on a fully charged battery – which directly contradicts Nissan’s own recommendation for an 80-percent max battery charge.
The class action lawsuit further accused Nissan of hiding a design defect in the LEAF’s battery system that causes the electric car to suffer “widespread, severe and premature loss of driving range, battery capacity and battery life.”
Nissan maintains that the class action lawsuit is without merit, but has agreed to expand the warranty coverage for 2011-2012 model year LEAF cars to add battery capacity loss to its existing limited warranty for up to 60 months or 60,000 miles. The new warranty will also require Nissan to repair the battery to at least 70 percent of its full capacity. If repair is not possible, Nissan agreed to replace the defective LEAF battery with a new or remanufactured one.
Class Members will be automatically included in the Nissan LEAF battery settlement unless they choose to opt out. About 18,588 people will be covered by the class action settlement, according to a motion filed July 3.
A preliminary approval hearing will be held August 12, 2013. Notice of the Nissan LEAF class action settlement will be mailed once the agreement is finalized.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Jordan L. Lurie, Andrew Sokolowski and Tarek Zohdy of the Initiative Legal Group, APC.
The Nissan LEAF Battery Defect Class Action Lawsuit Settlement is Humberto Daniel Klee, et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc., et al., Case No. 12-cv-08238, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Western Division.
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Law360, New York (July 09, 2013, 1:54 PM ET) -- In a proposed settlement valued at more than $10 million, Nissan North America Inc. on Monday agreed to expand the warranty for its 2011-2012 LEAF cars to settle a putative class action alleging that the vehicle's electric-powered battery lost capacity over time at an unreasonable rate.
Under the deal, which still needs approval from the California federal court, Nissan will add battery capacity loss to its existing limited warranty for up to 60 months or 60,000 miles. The new warranty will require repairs to restore the battery to at least 70 percent of its full capacity. If repair is not possible, Nissan agreed to replace the malfunctioning battery with a new or remanufactured one.
“While it is not uncommon in automotive defect class actions … to drag on beyond the time that class members actually still own their cars, here the settlement negotiations yielded a solution that benefits 2011-12 model year LEAF drivers while they still own and operate their cars,” the plaintiffs said in their motion for preliminary settlement approval.
The motion also called for the conditional certification of the class as all current and former owners of the 2011-2012 Nissan LEAF throughout the U.S., which Nissan estimates to be about 18,588 people.
While Nissan maintained its belief that the initial suit is without merit, it said it had conducted sufficient outreach with the plaintiffs and that both parties deemed the settlement to be fair, reasonable and adequate.
The parties reached agreement on the outlines of a settlement as early as December, after which the plaintiffs carried on with over five months of discovery to confirm with the putative class members that the settlement terms were agreeable.
All class members will be automatically included in the settlement unless they choose to opt out and Nissan will mail notice of the new warranty once the agreement is finalized.
Named plaintiffs Humberto Daniel Klee and David Wallak filed their first complaint in September, followed by an amended complaint in December. The complaint alleged that the LEAF suffered from a thermal management defect, that its lithium-ion battery loses capacity over time at an excessive rate when operated in a high temperature environment and that the vehicle does not have the driving range represented by Nissan.
The complaint sought injunctive relief in the form of a new or extended warranty to cover the lithium-ion battery's shortcomings.
The schedule for final approval of the settlement in Monday's motion provides that the agreement could be approved by the court before the end of the year.
Representatives for the parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The plaintiffs are represented by Jordan L. Lurie and Tarek H. Zohdy of Capstone Law APC.
Nissan is represented by Paul J. Riehle of Sedgwick LLP.
The case is Klee at al. v. Nissan North America Inc. et al., case number 2:12-cv-08238, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Looks like the only reason we got a 2011/12 extended battery capacity warranty, is because of this suit.
not because nissan was nice to its owners.
How do we opt out?