MIAMI - A German automaker tried to hide an alleged defect in the air bag system of its sport utility vehicle, according to a class action complaint filed July 19 in Florida state court (Yvonne Louis, et al. v. BMW of North America, LLC, No. 04-14850 CA09, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
Yvonne Louis and Lizette Vale filed suit in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, claiming that BMW of North America LLC required customers to sign a confidentiality agreement before repairs to the air bag system on its sport utility vehicles would be covered under warranty.
Vale claims that the air bag in her vehicle suddenly deployed while she was driving down the highway. The air bag obstructed her view of the road and forced her to stop the vehicle immediately. When Vale took to the car to a BMW dealer to have the problem fixed, she was told of the confidentiality agreement requirement. She was told the same thing upon taking the vehicle to a second dealer.
The plaintiffs seek to represent a class of all first retail purchasers and each subsequent purchaser of BMW X5s manufactured in 2001 through 2004 that have defective air bags by reason of improper deployment.
The plaintiffs seek damages for violation of the Florida Litigation in Sunshine Law, which prohibits concealment of a public hazard, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The plaintiffs seek reimbursement for any class member who paid for replacement of their air bags out of pocket, inspection and repairs for all class members and an order enjoining BMW from using confidentiality agreements in future cases.
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