The lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Helena Barinova, seeks to represent a class of New Jersey residents who bought certain W211 E-Class generation Mercedes-Benz vehicles that were produced from 2003 to 2009. The lawsuit also seeks to represent a subclass of owners and lease holders who bore the costs of repairing components of the vehicles' fuel delivery systems.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants have violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and state common law, because they failed to disclose defects in the fuel delivery system of the vehicles that can cause interior and exterior leaks of gasoline and gasoline vapors. Additionally, the vehicle seats can absorb the gasoline. The defect exposes drivers and passengers to the possibility of fire and explosion as well as health problems.
"Defendants have ignored these risks and otherwise failed to repair or replace defective fuel tanks under vehicle warranties,"the complaint states. "Instead, Defendants have ignored and concealed the defect, instructing Mercedes-Benz technicians to replace fuel sending units under warranty only after repeated owner complaints."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fielded more than 100 complaints concerning the smell of gasoline in the cabins of Mercedes-Benz E-Class vehicles and liquid gasoline leaks outside of the vehicles, according to the lawsuit. In 2012, the agency opened an investigation into gasoline leaks on Mercedes-Benz E55 vehicles from 2003 to 2006, the complaint states.
Further, Barinova allegesthat while Mercedes-Benz issued a recall to fix a problem related to leaking gasoline, that recall only covered certain 2003 to 2006 vehicles and didn't truly correct the problem. "Many of the vehicles receiving the 'recall' are still experiencing unsafe fuel containment issues with the Fuel Delivery System on these vehicles still leaking,"the complaint states.
According to the lawsuit, Barinova bought a new Mercedes-Benz E350 in 2005 that allegedly ended up leaking raw fuel and gasoline vapors, with the back seat of her vehicle becoming "saturated"with raw gasoline several times, according to the complaint. The dealership that sold her the car and Mercedes-Benz refused to fix the alleged defects, forcing her to replace certain components of the fuel delivery system at her own expense, the complaint said. However, the defects and the leaks have persisted.
Additionally, various dealers in New Jersey are also named as defendants. "The Dealership Defendants were well aware of the problems with the Fuel Delivery System in E-Class vehicles as they received complaints from customers, including Plaintiff, and performed repairs; yet, they continued to sell and/or lease E-Class vehicles without warning consumers of the known defect,"the complaint said.
The case is Barinova v. Daimler AG et al, case number L-9841-14 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County.