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Home/Blog/Honda Can’t Dismiss ‘Sudden Deceleration’ Lawsuit

Honda Can’t Dismiss ‘Sudden Deceleration’ Lawsuit

On March 25, 2021, the United States District Court for the Central District of California determined that a class action lawsuit against American Honda Motors, Inc. (“Honda” or the “Company”) was fit to proceed, denying Honda’s attempt to dismiss the legal action.

Plaintiffs, represented by Miller Shah LLP, allege that certain of Honda’s model Acura MDX from years 2016 to 2020 and model Acura RDX from years 2019 to 2020 (together, the “Vehicle(s)”) experience sudden deceleration, putting drivers in danger. Specifically, the Vehicles contain a software defect which causes the electronic control system, including the Engine Control Module and the Transmission Control Module, to miscommunicate, resulting in unexpected and unintended deceleration, engine stalls, and abrupt shutdowns and shifts into neutral, especially while driving at highway speeds under normal conditions.

The alleged defect creates a safety hazard that Honda failed to disclose and continues to ignore. Because it knew of the defect and kept it a secret, Honda has engaged in unfair, deceptive, and misleading consumer practices with respect to the marketing, sale, and lease of the Vehicles.

Honda filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in January 2021, arguing that Plaintiffs had not identified a defect with the requisite level of specificity and that the problems could result from many different factors. The Company further argued that promotional statements that its vehicles are “safe” are mere puffery, meaning they are not specific enough to be legally actionable.

The District Court heard oral argument from both sides on March 5, 2021, and issued its opinion shortly thereafter on March 25. While acknowledging that the specificity of the alleged defect posed a “difficult question” for the Court, the District Judge found Plaintiffs’ allegations to be well-pled. Furthermore, though agreeing with Honda that the Company could not have broken its warranty promise unless it refused to repair a Vehicle multiple times, the Judge found that only a jury would be able to determine whether the cars in those instances were sufficiently safe to sell.

Updates will be posted to this blog as the matter progresses. A class has not yet been certified in this action. The case caption for the lawsuit is Winnie Clark et al v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-03147, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

The legal team at Miller Shah LLP has significant experience representing class action matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this post, please contact Kolin Tang (kctang@millershah.com) or Alec Berin (ajberin@millershah.com). The firm can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

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