After the tragic death of Anton Yelchin in July—known for his role as Pavel Chekov in the recent Star Trek movies— Fiat Chysler Automobiles has found itself in the middle of a massive class action lawsuit. The multi-million-dollar lawsuit springs from the gear shifter design in the 2012-2014 models of Dodge Chargers and the 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee models. According to the plaintiffs, the suit alleges that Chrysler hid problems with the shifter. The shifter would change position and permit the car to move. In Yelchin’s case, the shifter moved and caused his Jeep Cherokee to roll down his driveway and pin him against a gate.
The defective shifter has so far been linked to 212 crashes, 308 property damage reports and over forty injuries according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The plaintiffs allege that the “Shifter design is dangerously defective because there is no tactile or position feedback to the operator as to whether the car has actually been placed into the safe-to-exit ‘park’ gear and there is no safety override that automatically puts the car in ‘park’ if the driver’s door is open and pressure taken off the foot brake.” Because of the defective design, Chrysler has instituted a massive recall, adding two Maserati models to the list in late June. The plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S District Court in California, accusing the company of covering up incidents of injuries and property damage as well as failing to adequately respond to the issue. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for the diminished value of the vehicles affected as well as an injunction ordering the car company to end their deceptive practices.
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