Hyundai: California is Not the Right Court for Alleged Sunroof Defect Lawsuit

A photo of Billy Glenn's "shattered sunroof," as a part of the court documents.

A photo of Billy Glenn’s “shattered sunroof,” as a part of the court documents.

Hyundai argues that U.S. District Court of California is not the right jurisdiction for a lawsuit brought by vehicles owners who say the automaker’s panoramic sunroofs “spontaneously shatter.”

Alabama resident Billy Glenn filed the class action lawsuit against Hyundai and three others are listed as plaintiffs. The case covers New Hampshire, Texas and Washington, as well as Alabama.

“The four plaintiffs in this action have no apparent connection to California,” Hyundai’s attorneys say in a court filing. “By their own account, they reside in other states, purchased their vehicles in other states and experienced the alleged sunroof defect in other states.”

They filed in California because Hyundai’s U.S. headquarters is in the state.

“Plaintiffs home states’ laws should govern their car purchases in this case,” the attorneys say.

Hyundai’s attorneys also note that while Glenn offered to participate in the Better Business Bureau’s Auto Line, he never did.

“To date, he [Glenn] has apparently never initiated that process even though his warranty provides clear instructions on how to do so. Glenn cannot plausibly allege that using BBB Auto Line would be futile when, by his apparent admission, he has not even attempted to initiate the process,” according to court documents.

The BBB Auto Line offers a dispute resolution program to help resolve a lemon law complaints. The program covers car warranty issues against participating manufacturers, according to the BBB website.

“In his opposition, Glenn admits that Hyundai has reached out and offered to reimburse him for his out-of-pocket expenses in connection with his broken sunroof,” Hyundai’s attorneys say. “He admits he rejected Hyundai’s offer and opted to litigate his claims in this court instead.”

The judge says a decision can be made on the motion to dismiss based on the documents filed. An oral hearing is not needed.

Glenn purchased a new 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport in September 2014 with a panoramic sunroof. In February 2015, when the vehicle had about 10,000 miles, Glenn was driving with his wife and daughter when the panoramic sunroof shattered, showering everyone inside the vehicle with glass, according to the court documents. Glenn filed a claim with his insurance company.

Glenn alleges that less than one month after this incident, on March 4, 2015, the newly replaced panoramic sunroof also spontaneously shattered. Glenn filed another insurance claim, and had to pay another $100 deductible for the repair and replacement of his vehicle’s sunroof, according to the court documents.

He has asked the judge to certify the class action to cover owners and lessees of these vehicles:

  • 2013-2016 model year Hyundai Santa Fe Sport;
  • 2013-2016 model year Hyundai Santa Fe;
  • 2013-2016 model year Hyundai Elantra GT;
  • 2011-2016 model year Hyundai Sonata;
  • 2011-2016 model year Hyundai Tucson; and
  • 2011-2016 model year Hyundai Veloster.

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