UPDATE: Judge Dismisses Proposed Class Action Against General Motors Over Airbag Software Defect

Figure 1: General Motors Co. Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant sign in Michigan. Photo credit: www.News.BloombergLaw.com.

A proposed class action lawsuit against General Motors (GM) LLC, alleging a software defect in trucks and SUVs that prematurely cut off airbag deployments, has been dismissed by U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar. While the judge allowed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint, he ruled that they failed to sufficiently plead a well-defined defect. The plaintiffs now have the chance to refine their definition of the alleged defect and refile their complaint.

In 2021, three plaintiff drivers sued, claiming that GM concealed a defect in certain trucks and SUVs. They alleged that the vehicles suffered from a software issue that caused the airbag control unit, also known as the sensing and diagnostic module, to prematurely close the time window for airbag deployment. According to the plaintiffs, this defect put drivers’ lives at risk.

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar dismissed the second amended complaint without prejudice, citing the plaintiff’s failure to clearly and consistently define the defect. He noted that the plaintiffs presented different definitions in opposing GM’s motion to dismiss. The judge highlighted the need for a uniform definition, explaining that the alleged defect persisted across GM’s trucks and SUVs from 1999 to 2018. While the operative complaint hinted at the existence of a defect in 1999, it failed to plausibly allege that the same defective software continued to be used throughout the years.

Judge Tigar’s ruling allows the plaintiffs to amend their complaint and address the deficiencies in their definition of the defect. Christopher Ayers, partner with Seeger Weiss LLP and counsel for the plaintiffs, expressed their intention to amend the complaint and hold GM accountable for the alleged dangerous airbag defect. GM’s counsel did not immediately respond or comment on the dismissal.

If you or someone you know has suffered due to a faulty or poorly designed product, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.