On February 15, 2019, Axler Goldich and its co-counsel, Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah LLP, Robert P. Cocco, P.C., filed a motion for preliminary approval of a class-wide settlement of claims by purchasers of model-year 2015, 2016, and 2017 Hyundai Sonata vehicles equipped with the “Smart Trunk” feature. Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, alleges that Defendant, Hyundai Motor America, was unable to deliver a non-defective, hands-free, proximity activated trunk which fully opens when the owner stands directly behind the vehicle, despite being a feature that was heavily advertised by Hyundai in its uniform marketing campaign.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, class members will be entitled to monetary and injunctive relief, consisting of: a cash payment or Hyundai dealer credit for documented complaints; Smart Trunk inspection, replacement, and credit; warranty extension; and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses. As part of the settlement, Hyundai has also agreed to ensure that its advertising conforms with the design specifications of the Smart Trunk feature.
More information about the case below:
The complaint filed by plaintiff alleged that Hyundai Motor America installed defective “Smart Trunks” in some of its vehicles, according to a class action lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania federal court by Axler Goldich along with the law firms of Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah LLP and Robert P. Cocco, P.C..
The Smart Trunk (“Smart Trunk”), which Hyundai first made available on its model-year 2015 vehicles, is a proximity-activated trunk lid which can be opened by standing directly behind the vehicle with the vehicle’s key fob in one’s hand, pocket, or purse. The key fob automatically sends a radio signal to the vehicle that tells it to open the trunk – no buttons on the key fob need to be pressed. Hyundai aggressively promoted the Smart Trunk as a “hands-free” feature that automatically opens the trunk fully, or at least wide enough for a person to deposit bulky items into the trunk – such as shopping bags, duffle bags, and sports equipment – without having to put the items down or manually open the trunk lid.
However, the class action lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania resident alleges that Hyundai has sold and leased countless vehicles, including the plaintiff’s 2015 Hyundai Sonata, equipped with defective Smart Trunks that never open more than a crack. Instead of automatically opening as advertised, the plaintiff alleges that they simply unlatch, requiring consumers to manually push open the trunk lid, thereby failing to provide the “hands-free” convenience the Smart Trunk is advertised to deliver. The complaint further states that Hyundai failed to inform plaintiff and class members that the Smart Trunk does not open as wide as depicted in advertisements and that it possesses a defect that, in many cases, prevents the trunk from opening to any appreciable or useful degree.
The Hyundai class action suit, brought by the plaintiff on behalf of himself and all other purchasers and lessees of Hyundai vehicles equipped with Smart Trunks, charges the car company with breaching its express and implied warranty obligations because it failed to deliver conforming, non-defective Smart Trunks to consumers despite, in many cases, multiple repair attempts. In addition to breaching its express and implied warranties, Hyundai is alleged to have made misrepresentations and knowingly failed to disclose material facts about the Smart Trunks to consumers in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law, the California False Advertising Law, the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and as a result was unjustly enriched by its conduct.
The Hyundai Smart Trunk Class Action Lawsuit is captioned Riaubia v. Hyundai Motor America, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Axler Goldich LLC is a national class action, mass tort, and personal injury law firm headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The firm was founded to champion the rights of those who have been injured by corporate misconduct, fraud, or the negligence of others. Our lawyers have a lengthy record of taking on the largest companies in the world, including automobile manufacturers, for causing economic harm, environmental hazards, personal injury, or wrongful death. Call us at 866-207-2920, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.