Los Angeles, CA: A settlement has been reached in the defective brake class action lawsuit pending against Nissan North America Inc. Under the terms of the deal, Nissan will pay vehicle owners up to $800 each. The lawsuit alleged that the braking system in certain Nissan trucks and SUVs is prone to sudden failure, increasing the risk for injury and death.
The lawsuit was originally filed in April 2011 by Brandon and Erin Banks. It alleged the defective sensor posed a serious safety threat to consumers because it controls critical safety aspects of braking and was prone to failure. The defect caused drivers to be suddenly unable to stop their vehicles within a reasonably safe time and distance, or at all.
Furthermore, the complaint states, the automaker knew about the defect but hid it from consumers "to [Nissan's] significant financial gain."
Under the proposed the terms, current and former owners of approximately 350,000 2004-2008 Nissan Titans, Armadas and Infiniti QX56 vehicles in the US can file claims seeking reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses they incurred in replacing or repairing a defective delta stroke sensor, which is a component of the faulty braking system.
According to court documents, the plaintiffs asked the court to certify a proposed nationwide class of consumers who own or formerly owned the affected vehicles and were forced to replace the faulty sensor. Plaintiffs with personal injury claims relating to the affected vehicles are excluded from the class.
Nissan will begin reimbursement at $20 for vehicle owners who had in excess of 120,000 miles at the time of the repair. Reimbursement will go up to $800 for vehicles that had less than 48,000 miles at the time of repair.
According to the settlement motions, Nissan will distribute notices to the class members via direct mail and to addresses obtained through Nissan or public records utilizing vehicle identification numbers, the motion says. Class members will be directed to a website and a toll-free number maintained by the settlement administrator that will provide information concerning the settlement, including, if requested, a copy of the long form notice.
The plaintiffs are represented by Clifford L. Carter and Kirk J. Wolden of Carter Wolden Curtis LLP; Michael F. Ram and Karl Olson of Ram Olson Cereghino & Kopczynski LLP; and F. Jerome Tapley and Hirlye R. "Ryan"Lutz III or Cory Watson Crowder & Degaris PC.
The case is Banks et al v. Nissan North America, Inc. et al, case number 4:11-cv-02022, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.