CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Taking advantage of the state’s tough consumer laws, the owner of a 2013 Hyundai sued for fraud in Charlotte federal court today, claiming the automaker should pay him and other North Carolina purchasers triple damages for inflating the vehicles’ fuel efficiency ratings, the law firm of Berman DeValerio said.
Dunst v. Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Motor Co. was filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte and seeks to establish a statewide class. It asserts state claims for breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and violation of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. To review a copy of the complaint, click here. To see the case page, click here.
The lawsuit comes as a panel of federal judges weighs a motion to transfer all such cases to a California federal court. That type of multi-district litigation could disadvantage consumers who bought Hyundai and Kia vehicles in other states with better legal remedies if the case ultimately is litigated in the California forum and that state’s law is found to apply.
“All non-California purchasers of affected Hyundai and Kia vehicles should consult experienced consumer attorneys to determine whether they, too, would be better off filing claims under their states’ laws,” said Bryan Wood, the Berman DeValerio attorney representing the plaintiff.
All the lawsuits stem from a Nov. 12, 2012 announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) that Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America were lowering their miles per gallon (“MPG”) estimates for tens of thousands of 2011, 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles.
According to the North Carolina complaint, Hyundai and Kia admitted they had inaccurately rated the fuel efficiency of the vehicles by as much as four MPGs for certain Hyundai Santa Fe models and six MPGs for certain Kia Soul models. Both Hyundai and Kia had made fuel efficiency a main focal point of their U.S. marketing campaigns.
“Like many purchasers, our client wanted a fuel-efficient vehicle when he bought his Hyundai Santa Fe, and relied on Hyundai’s advertising claims and on the EPA mileage estimate on the window sticker to make his decision,” said Wood. “We believe the company’s deception cost him significant money – and that North Carolina state law offers him the best remedies available.”
After making the admissions, the complaint said, Hyundai and Kia offered owners a “woefully inadequate and unnecessarily cumbersome” program to compensate them for increased gas costs. The program did not address what purchasers may have overpaid for their cars or an expected decline in resale value, the complaint said.
Berman DeValerio is a national law firm that has successfully represented investors, businesses and consumers in complex litigation for more than 30 years. The firm consists of 39 attorneys in Boston, San Francisco and South Florida. The Charlotte office of Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A. (www.belldavispitt.com) is acting as liaison counsel. This news release may constitute attorney advertising in some states.