A Fiat Chrysler side curtain airbag class action lawsuit was dissolved after four plaintiffs alleged that Chrysler improperly programmed the inflatable side curtain airbags.
David Johnson, Dennis Carnes, Ronald Humes, and Lori Owen, the four plaintiffs, purchased their Chrysler vehicles between 2011 and 2017.
Plaintiffs contend FCA neglected to program side curtain airbags to deploy in all rollover accident types. As with many class action lawsuits, the plaintiffs do not allege they were injured by airbag malfunctions, nor do they claim their side curtain airbags failed to deploy.
The plaintiffs do not assert that their FCA vehicles lack side curtain airbags.
The FCA side airbag inflatable curtain (SABIC) is stowed in the roof-rail area above each side window, according to the class action lawsuit.
To prevent occupant displacement, the side curtain airbag will deploy downward to create a barrier between the occupant and the window. Additionally, the side airbag will reduce head injuries.
The class action lawsuit alleges that all of the vehicles are less secure than they could be because FCA programmed the side curtain airbags not to deploy in “slow-developing rollover crashes.”
Chrysler programmed the side inflatable curtain airbags on the basis that “the risk of injury to out-of-position occupants—i.e., occupants who are not upright, front-facing, and restrained—in a [slow developing rollover crash] would exceed the benefits that a deployed [SABIC] would provide[.]”
It is unknown whether any of the plaintiffs are automotive engineers, but they claim Chrysler made a “misguided conclusion” regarding the side airbags.
According to the plaintiffs, they would not have purchased their vehicles or would have paid less for them if they had been aware of the “deployment defect.”
Rejection of FCA Side Airbag Inflatable Curtain Lawsuit
The judge dismissed the airbag lawsuit after concurring with FCA that the plaintiffs “have not suffered an actual injury because the vehicles function precisely as programmed and FCA made it clear that airbags would only deploy when necessary.”
Judge Laurie J. Michelson observes that despite the plaintiffs’ assertion that they have never been injured, they continue to believe that side curtain airbags enhance the risk of death or injury to occupants.
The judge also concluded that the plaintiffs failed to allege that FCA breached their contract by making misrepresentations or omissions regarding the deployment of the side airbags.
“Importantly, none of the allegations enumerated in the complaint indicate when the SABICs would deploy or imply that they would deploy in all rollover collisions. In fact, FCA made it clear that a vehicle’s airbags would deploy only when necessary. Plaintiffs received what was guaranteed.” — Judge Michelson
Although the plaintiffs have repeatedly asserted that their Chrysler vehicles are hazardous and that the side inflatable airbags are “defective,” the judge has determined that the airbags function precisely as intended and designed.