Judge Approves Class Action Lawsuit Against GM For Knowingly Selling Faulty Transmissions

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A total of 16 models are equipped with the eight-speed automatic in question.

A US district judge has granted class action certification to a lawsuit against General Motors that was first filed in 2019. It accuses the automaker of knowingly selling several popular models with defective eight-speed automatic transmissions.

The update, first reported by the Detroit Free Press, confirms two transmissions are involved, both variants of the same model, internally codenamed 8L90 and 8L45. They were built between 2015 and March 1, 2019. According to the 39 plaintiffs who hail from 26 states, the transmissions supposedly lurch and shutter when driving, creating a safety hazard. Some owners have come to call this the "Chevy Shake."

"General Motors knowingly sold over 800,000 eight-speed transmission vehicles, which they knew to be defective for years, and yet made the business decision not to tell its customers before purchase," said Ted Leopold, a partner at Cohen Milstein, who is the court-appointed lead counsel for this case. "Dealers were directed to tell the customers that harsh shifts were 'normal' or 'characteristic.' Such decision-making is both highly irresponsible and emblematic of what GM believes it can get away with."

GM declined to comment because this is ongoing litigation.

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The list of vehicles equipped with these transmissions is long, and they include the following:

2015 -19 Chevrolet Silverado

2017-19 Chevrolet Colorado

2015-19 Chevrolet Corvette

2016-19 Chevrolet Camaro

2015-19 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV

2016-19 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, and CTS-V

2015-19 GMC Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali XL

2017-19 GMC Canyon

According to the plaintiffs, the automaker violated state consumer protection laws because it "knowingly" equipped the vehicles with transmissions that were "defective." The good news is that there have not been any injuries or deaths associated with the issue. But, the plaintiffs claim the transmissions sometimes cause the vehicles to "slip, buck, kick, jerk and harshly engage."

In addition, these eight-speeds cause "the vehicle to perform erratically, such as with sudden or delayed acceleration; the vehicles may be unsafe to drive." What do the plaintiffs want? Either compensation for overpaying for their vehicles or recovery of the costs associated with replacing defective components or the entire transmission.

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Another earlier report stated that 13 technical bulletins had been filed regarding the transmissions. At the time, none of them had been fixed. One of the TSBs, in fact, stated that the problem could be traced to the driveshafts. However, replacing the driveshaft with a new one would be pointless because they'd be identical.

Because the automaker didn't take proper action, one Silverado 1500 owner in Florida decided to take matters into his own hands by contacting their local news station, where he demonstrated the shudder in front of the cameras. That owner filed his own class action suit, but a judge dismissed it because the owner lacked legal standing since he claimed a legal injury only in his home state.

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