U.S. District Judge David Lawson granted class action certification in the case of Speerly v. GM. This case involves the owners of various General Motors (GM) vehicles who claim the automaker knowingly sold cars with faulty transmissions.
The suit includes 39 plaintiffs from across 26 states and focuses on two models of eight-speed automatic transmissions — the GM 8L90 and 8L45 — made between 2015 and March 1, 2019.
The court order listed the following vehicles with the alleged faulty transmissions:
- 2015 through 2019 model year Chevrolet Silverado
- 2017-19 Chevrolet Colorado
- 2015-19 Chevrolet Corvette
- 2016-19 Chevrolet Camaro
- 2015-19 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV
- 2016-19 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, and CTS-V
- 2015-19 GMC Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali XL
- 2017-19 GMC Canyon
The lawsuit said the transmissions lurch and shutter when driving, creating a safety hazard.
The plaintiffs argue that these transmissions lurch and shutter while driving, creating a safety hazard that GM was fully aware of. They allege that the automaker made a conscious decision not to inform customers about the issue before purchase. Instead, dealers were instructed to tell customers that the harsh shifts were "normal" or "characteristic."
Ted Leopold, a partner at Cohen Milstein and court-appointed lead counsel for the class action case, stated, “General Motors knowingly sold over 800,000 eight-speed transmission vehicles, which they knew to be defective for years, and yet made the business decision not to tell its customers before purchase." Leopold further criticized GM, saying, "Such decision making is both highly irresponsible and emblematic of what GM believes it can get away with."
The class action certification granted by Judge Lawson will allow the case to proceed on behalf of all affected vehicle owners who meet specific criteria. This will significantly increase the lawsuit's potential impact on General Motors, with the possibility of more plaintiffs joining the case and larger financial penalties if the automaker is found to be at fault.
This lawsuit serves as a stark reminder of the importance of corporate responsibility and the potential consequences of neglecting safety concerns. For General Motors, the case is another blow to its reputation, as the automaker has been involved in several high-profile recalls in recent years. The outcome of Speerly v. GM could have lasting implications for the company and the broader auto industry.
As the legal battle unfolds, consumers and industry watchers alike will be closely monitoring the developments in this case, which could serve as a precedent for future lawsuits against automakers. With safety at the forefront of consumers' minds, the automotive industry must prioritize addressing and resolving known issues to maintain trust and ensure customer satisfaction.
The plaintiffs claim that GM breached state consumer protection laws by intentionally selling "defective" vehicles. According to Leopold, no deaths or injuries have been reported in connection with the issue.
In this case, the plaintiffs seek compensation for two possible scenarios. The first is for the alleged overpayment for defective vehicles at the time of purchase. The second is for the cost of replacing either the faulty components or the entire transmissions in their vehicles. Both scenarios aim to hold GM accountable for the alleged defects and provide relief to affected customers.
A second lawsuit against GM for vehicles with 8L transmissions is also underway in the case of Battle v. General Motors. That case involves 8L vehicles made after March 1, 2019, through the model year 2022, when GM replaced the automatic transmission fluid that caused the shudder problem.