Drivers in 26 U.S. states claim General Motors knowingly manufactured defective transmissions for more than 800,000 vehicles between the 2015 and 2019 model years. A federal court in Detroit certified class actions on their behalf Monday.
In a 60-page ruling handed down by U.S. District Judge David Lawson for the Eastern District of Michigan, it was confirmed drivers in each state demonstrated common problems predominated, and it would be more efficient to bring a number of group lawsuits against GM.
The lawsuit certification covers 39 plaintiffs across 26 states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
The lawsuit involves some of GM’s most profitable vehicles, including Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac trucks and SUVs as well as the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro equipped with the 8L45 or 8L90 8-speed automatic transmissions, “that while attempting to accelerate or decelerate their cars they may feel a hesitation, lurch, lunge, or other type of ‘harsh shift.’ Some drivers reported the gear shifting as so violent that it feels as if they were hit by another vehicle.”
In addition, “The vehicles also suffer from a second transmission defect, a shaking or “shudder” while traveling at highway speeds.”
The lawsuits further asserts that GM knew about the defect for years. “Internal company documents obtained in litigation show that even GM had determined the “startling effect” of the harsh shifts can create a safety issue.”
“General Motors knowingly sold over 800,000 8-speed transmission vehicles which they knew to be defective for years, and yet made the business decision not to tell its customers before purchase,” the lawsuit asserts. “Dealers were directed to tell the customers that harsh shifts were ‘normal or ‘characteristic.”
The plaintiffs are demanding either restitution for allegedly overpaying for defective vehicles from their retailer, or reimbursement for the expense of replacing any defective transmissions.
Those suing said they would have never purchased the vehicles had they known.
The vehicles with potentially faulty transmissions include:
2015-2019 Chevrolet Silverado2017-2019 Chevrolet Colorado2015-2019 Chevrolet Corvette2016-2019 Chevrolet Camaro2015-2019 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV2016-2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6 and CTS-V2015-2019 GMC Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL and Yukon Denali XL2017-2019 GMC Canyon
Cohen Milstein, the court-appointed firm on the case, said “since 2015, GM has issued 13 versions of a technical service bulletin related to this shifting issue alone.”
More to come
It’s not the only case of this type the firm is pursuing.
Cohen Milstein states that “Battle v. General Motors, LLC, 2:22-cv-108783,” a second case involving GM vehicles with 8L gearboxes with harsh shifts, is now underway. This case involves vehicles built after March 1, 2019 through 2022, when the 8L automatic transmission fluid that led to the shudder issue was changed by GM.