Mileage is a big issue these days. While some want higher mileage in their cars to try to protect the environment, others simply want to save some cash at the gas station. Whichever reason you use, it is enough for consumers to get testy when they discover the new car they bought does not get the mileage they were promised.
In November of 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that Hyundai and Kia carmakers had exaggerated the mileage on the window stickers on nearly 1.1 million 2011-2013 model-year vehicles. Most vehicles were receiving an average of 1 mpg less than advertised but others, such as the Kia Soul, were getting as much as 6 mpg less than advertised.
Both automakers made public apologies, calling the discrepancies “procedural errors” but the class action lawsuits allege that Hyundai and Kia knowingly overstated the estimated mileage of their vehicles in order to get customers to buy them.
Recently, 12 class actions against the two car companies which are currently pending in Alabama, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Ohio have been consolidated into one multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Central District of California. An additional 22 class action lawsuits pending in 12 different districts may join the MDL.
The Espinosa case was the first filed and is the most advanced in litigation. For these reasons, they wished to abstain from the MDL but the panel on MDL did not deem their case advanced enough to warrant granting that request.
According to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, consolidating the class actions into one “will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.”
Certain plaintiffs against Kia wanted a separate MDL for Kia-only classes. This motion was denied for three reasons: 1) Hyundai and Kia share a parent company, 2) the testing for both companies was done at the same facility in Korea, and 3) the announcement made on November 2, 2012 regarding the procedural errors in the mileage estimates and launch of the related mileage reimbursement programs were made on behalf of both Kia and Hyundai.
The case is being transferred to the Central District of California because that is where the defendants are based as well as where the majority of the lawsuits have been filed. Judge George H. Wu has been presiding over the Espinosa action for over a year and is therefore the most qualified to act as the transferee judge for the MDL.
Our Oak Brook, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue.
The Chicago consumer rights attorneys at DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.
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