Last June, the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin brought national attention to an apparent flaw in the gear shifter installed in many recent Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles. Now, a judicial panel has consolidated more than a dozen lawsuits against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—including five class actions—that claim a similar defect in six different models.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuits are from seven different states but will now be tried together in the Eastern District of Michigan, where the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles headquarters are located. These federal lawsuits are in response to an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration into the Jeep gear shifters that was conducted following Yelchin's death.
"The actions share complex factual questions arising out of allegations that the monostable electronic gearshift installed in certain vehicles manufactured by FCA US LLC is defective and unreasonably dangerous in that it allegedly fails to provide the driver with an adequate indication of whether the vehicle is in the 'park' position," wrote the judicial panel chair, " and lacks a safety override function that would place the vehicle in 'park' automatically when a driver exits the vehicle while it is in another gear."
Yelchin's Accidental Death
Last June, Yelchin was found pinned by his Jeep Grand Cherokee at the bottom of his driveway at his Southern California home. Authorities believe that he unknowingly failed to put the vehicle in park (due to the faulty gear shift) before going to check his mailbox. Yelchin received a Jeep recall notice for the gear shift issue just one week after this death.
The Fiat Chrysler models allegedly affected by this defect include:
- Jeep Grand Cherokee (2014 and 2015)
- Chrysler 300 (2012 - 2014)
- Dodge Charger (2012 - 2014)
- Dodge Ram (2012 - 2014)
- Maserati Ghibili (2014)
- Maserati Quattroporte (2014)
Consumers are currently pursuing both state and federal lawsuits against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for this gear shift issue. If you have been affected by this dangerous product, or any other one, the time to seek legal counsel is now. The proven Marin County personal injury attorneys at Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC have more than 70 years of combined experience in this practice area. We know what it takes to secure results for our clients and are ready to assess the details of your claim today.
Pursue the relief you deserve with an aggressive advocate by your side. Contact us now.