Nissan Appeals Class Action Ruling in ‘Defective’ Sunroof Lawsuit

Nissan is challenging a recent California district court ruling that resulted in class action certification for drivers in multiple states. On appeal, the vehicle manufacturer has raised the question of whether plaintiffs presented “sufficient admissible evidence” that identified a common defect with respect to allegations of defective panoramic sunroofs.

The appeal comes as a continuation of a 2017 lawsuit alleging that a number of vehicles contain a “defect” on their panoramic sunroofs. The plaintiffs allege in documentation filed with the court that the panoramic sunroofs on a number of Nissan vehicles have a “defect.” They and their cited experts contend that the design of the sunroofs make them vulnerable to fracturing or shattering under normal driving conditions. Those vehicles include the Maxima, Rogue, Pathfinder, Murano and Infiniti JX and QX60.

The plaintiffs also argue that Nissan North America Inc., failed to disclose the alleged issue to consumers as required by consumer protection laws. Nissan argues that its panoramic sunroofs comply with regulatory standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The company further argued that only 0.15% of its panoramic sunroofs shatter.

In July, U.S. District Judge William Orrick out of California certified claims from drivers in California, New York, Colorado and Florida. At the end of October, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Nissan’s petition for permission to appeal the July ruling.

“Among the issues raised are whether Plaintiffs presented sufficient admissible evidence identifying and supporting a common defect, whether they presented any admissible evidence of alleged concealment and reliance of the improperly identified alleged defect, whether plaintiffs who bought cars used can serve as named class representatives, whether former owners who sold their vehicles can serve as named class representatives, and whether plaintiffs’ damages model should have been run and would have supported Plaintiffs’ theories,” writes the attorney for appellant Nissan in a mediation questionnaire.

At the end of November, the parties were in agreement in asking the court for a stay of all proceedings pending resolution of the appeal and the results of mediation.

The judge approved the request.

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