Seattle, WA: Kia Motors is facing a defective automotive class action lawsuit alleging that some of its vehicles have fuel tank placements that place vehicle occupants at risk for fire in the event of collision. The specific models citied in the consumer fraud class action lawsuit are the 2010-2013 Kia Soul.
Filed in California federal court, the lawsuit, entitled Constance Sims, et al. v. Kia Motors America Inc. et al., Case No. 13-01791, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Kia Motors America Inc, falsely misrepresented some of its vehicles as being constructed with "world-class quality."
The design of certain Kia vehicles has the gas tank located directly under the rare seat. Further, the lawsuit alleges there are no means of protecting or reinforcing the fuel tank with reinforcing straps or a whole-tank shield, which is a practice commonly used by other automakers.
Therefore, the lawsuit contends, Kia passengers are unknowingly put at risk in certain types of collisions. Plaintiffs allege that placing the fuel tanks under the rear seat "increases the risk that the gas tank will dislodge and ignite in a major collision."
The Kia defective automotive lawsuit also alleges the fuel pump cover is placed directly under the rear seat cushion, in order to allow mechanics easier access in the event of problem: mechanics would not necessarily have to remove the entire gas tank. However, should the gas tank become dislodged, the covering is plastic, "increasing the likelihood of a 'blow torch' [sic] fire in the rear compartment," the lawsuit states.
That scenario allegedly occurred in Texas, in an incident where a Kia Soul exploded in a collision as a result of the defective gas tank design. As consequence, all three passengers in the rear compartment of the car burned to death, the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs are seeking to represent anyone who purchased, leased and/or currently own or lease a Kia vehicle model that has a gas tank that is not properly secured or is covered by a plastic fuel pump service cover. They are also seeking damages for violations of the state Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, false advertising, breach of implied warranty and fraudulent concealment.
The plaintiffs are represented by class action lawsuit lawyers Elaine T. Byszewski, Steve W. Berman and Sean R. Matt of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Mark P. Robinson Jr. of Robinson Calcagnie & Robinson.