General Motors lost a class action lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California over alleged defects in the LC9 Vortec 5300 V8. The jury ordered the automaker to pay $102.6 million to affected customers.
Specifically, the suit includes trucks and SUVs with these engines from the 2011 to 2014 model years for owners in California, North Carolina, and Idaho. There are about 38,000 people who are part of the class action case, according to Automotive News. Each of them can earn $2,700.
However, the legal process has not been completed for this case. A General Motors spokesman told Motor1.com:
We do not believe the ruling is supported by evidence. We plan to seek post-trial waivers and file an appeal if the Court allows the ruling to remain in effect.
Lawyers filed the case in late 2016. It was alleged that a problem with the piston rings resulted in excessive oil consumption and potential damage to the power plant, including possible failure.
According to the attorney who filed the class-action lawsuit, GM suggested solutions to the alleged problem in 2010, but they didn’t help. There were also alleged design changes to power generation components in 2011. The company’s lawyers cited this as evidence that the automaker was aware of the problem.
“I am extremely proud of our pilot team for their tireless preparation and aggressive advocacy [sic] this case,” Christopher Stombaugh, principal court counsel on the case and a partner at DiCello Levitt, said in a statement from the company.
The law firm notes that it is rare for a class action lawsuit in the automotive industry to reach a jury decision. Based on Motor1.com’s previous reporting, this appears to be the case. For example, Daimler approved a settlement in 2020 that paid billions of dollars to end cases with the Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and class action lawsuits.