Class Action Suit Against Harley Clears Another Hurdle

   (CN) – Four bikers can move forward with a class action that claims Harley Davidson manufactured defective motorcycles that burn drivers’ legs, a federal judge ruled.
Phillip Johnson, Jimmy Aldridge, Randy Vandermolen and Matthew Weyuker alleged that since 1999, Twin Cam engines in Harley motorcycles were prone to overheating and caused burn injuries to their legs. Transmissions on models manufactured since 2006 also came with defective speed transmissions, the bikers claimed.
Harley Davidson asked the Eastern District of California court to throw out the claims under state law.
But while U.S. District Judge John Mendez granted the motion to dismiss in part, he sided with the bikers on their claims for fraudulent and unfair business practices, violations of Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), and unjust enrichment.
“Plaintiffs sufficiently allege that the engine defect is material because a reasonable consumer would change his behavior if he knew that the engine heat can cause burns and that the transmission would require numerous repairs or replacements,” Mendez wrote.
“Plaintiffs claim that defendant knew of the excessive engine heat defect as early as 1999 and of the transmission defect as early as 2006,” the July 21 decision states. “Plaintiffs discovered the excessive heat and transmission defects after purchasing the motorcycles. Since defendant was in a superior position to know of its defective engines, plaintiffs properly allege that defendant had exclusive knowledge of material facts not known to plaintiffs.”
Mendez directed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint to “provide more specificity concerning when they discovered the purported defects” because it was “unclear” whether or not the claims were time-barred.
The judge also granted Harley Davidson’s motion to dismiss on unlawful business practices with leave to amend.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Lyle Cook of Kershaw, Cutter and Ratinoff, applauded the “victory” for his clients.
“Harley Davidson was trying to say that the claims under California law hadn’t been properly pled but the court disagreed with the main thrust of their motion,” Cook told Courthouse News.
“With respect to the remainder of the court’s order, we intend to amend the complaint consistent with the court’s direction,” he added.


Suzuki Recalls Over 73,000 Motorcycles

Vehicle Make / Model:     Model Year(s):
     SUZUKI / AN400     2008-2009
     SUZUKI / DL1000     2008-2009
     SUZUKI / GSF1250     2008-2009
     SUZUKI / GSX-R600     2008-2009
     SUZUKI / GSX-R750     2008-2009
     SUZUKI / GSX1300B     2008
     SUZUKI / GSX1300R     2008-2010
     SUZUKI / GSX650F     2008-2009
     SUZUKI / SFV650     2009-2010
     SUZUKI / VL800     2008-2010
     SUZUKI / VLR1800     2008-2009
     SUZUKI / VZ1500     2009-2010

SUZUKI IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2008 THROUGH 2010 MOTORCYCLES MANUFACTURED FROM JULY 2007 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2009, EQUIPPED WITH REGULATOR/RECTIFIER ASSEMBLIES, SUZUKI PART NUMBERS 32800-41F11, 32800-15H10, 32800-05H11, 32800-41G10, 32800-15H00, 32800-18H00, 32800-05G10, 32800-10G10, 32800-05H20, OR 32800-06G01. SOME REGULATOR/RECTIFIER ASSEMBLIES WERE PRODUCED WITH INSUFFICIENT ADHESION BETWEEN THE POWER MODULE (CIRCUIT BOARD) AND THE RECTIFIER CASE THAT CONTAINS A HEAT SINK TO DISSIPATE HEAT. DUE TO INSUFFICIENT ADHESION, HEAT GENERATED ON THE POWER MODULE CIRCUIT BOARD CAN CAUSE THE CIRCUIT BOARD TO DEFORM, AND LIFT OF THE CASE.

THIS CONDITION CAUSES EXCESSIVE HEAT ON THE CIRCUIT BOARD AND UNCONTROLLED ELECTRIC CURRENT OUTPUT, WHICH CAN RESULT IN INSUFFICIENT CHARGING CURRENT BEING PROVIDED TO THE MOTORCYCLE BATTERY. THIS CAN CAUSE DISCHARGE OF THE BATTERY AND CAN LEAD TO ENGINE STALLING AND/OR A NO-START CONDITION. ENGINE STALLING WHILE RIDING CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF A CRASH.

SUZUKI WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND SUZUKI DISTRIBUTORS WILL REPLACE THE REGULATOR/RECTIFIER WITH AN IMPROVED PART FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT MARCH 2, 2011. OWNERS MAY CONTACT SUZUKI AT 1-714-996-7040.