Settlement talks are underway to resolve three class action lawsuits filed against General Motors over an alleged defect in 2010 through 2017 Chevy Equinox SUVs that causes the vehicles to consume abnormally high amounts of oil.
According to a case document filed in late January, the parties involved in the class action filed in Florida over the alleged defect informed the court on December 5, 2018, that as a result of mediation sessions, they had reached a tentative settlement. The proposed deal looks to resolve all three class action lawsuits (Florida, California, and Illinois) filed over the apparent oil consumption defect and establish a settlement that will apply nationwide.
It’s important to note that the proposed class action filed in Illinois alleges 2010-2017 GMC Terrain SUVs suffer from the same oil consumption defect. At this time, it’s unclear whether any forthcoming settlement would cover those vehicles, or only Chevy Equinox models.
How did we get here?
The legal drama that was the Chevy Equinox oil consumption issue began in April 2018, when four consumers filed a proposed class action lawsuit against General Motors LLC in Illinois. September saw the filing of two more proposed class actions, in Florida and then California, over similar claims that the vehicles consume oil at alarming rates.
In early October 2018, the parties involved in the Florida class action filed a Joint Motion to Stay Proceedings informing the court that mediation was ongoing and would hopefully settle the case. The court then gave the parties 60 days to work it out.
Once those 60 days were up, on December 5, 2018, the parties informed the court that they were able to reach a tentative settlement through their mediation talks.
On December 5, 2019, the parties filed a ‘Joint Motion to Extend Stay of Proceedings and Joint Status Report Regarding Settlement’ (DE 10). The parties informed the Court that, as a result of the mediation sessions, they had reached a tentative settlement of all issues in all three cases, and that they were working on a settlement agreement to document the settlement and on the other documents required to implement the settlement under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 (for example, the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement to be submitted to this Court for approval).”
And where are we at now?
As far as we know, the parties involved in the Florida lawsuit are still hammering out the specifics of the potential settlement. The court has given them a deadline of April 5, 2019, for updates.
What about the lawsuits filed in California and Illinois?
What happens with the lawsuits filed in California and Illinois depend on the outcome of the Florida case. For now, the cases in California and Illinois have been stayed—read those documents here and here—which means they’ll be on ice until any new developments spring up with the settlement talks in the Florida suit.
What did the original lawsuits allege?
The three initial lawsuits against General Motors alleged model year 2010-2017 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs with EcoTech 2.4-liter engines burned through abnormally high amounts of oil. The alleged defect posed a serious safety risk, the cases claimed, because without enough oil to cut down on friction and wear inside the vehicles’ engines, the engines could fail at any time during the course of normal operation while driving at any speed.
As for General Motors’ alleged role in all this, the lawsuits claimed the automaker actively concealed and failed to disclose the oil consumption problem, and offered little to no help to owners of the affected vehicles. While a service bulletin detailing a fix was issued for 2011 Equinox and Terrain models that mentioned excessive oil consumption, no such remedy was presented by General Motors for the other model-year vehicles.
So, what’s next?
What’s next is we sit and wait until the parties handling the class action in Florida work out the final details of a settlement. After that happens, the deal will need a judge’s approval before it becomes official.
We should know more by early April.
What do I need to do to be included in the lawsuit? Is there anything I should be doing right now?
There’s nothing you need to do to be included. Should a settlement get approved, you will likely be notified by mail or e-mail. You can read more about how they get your information here.
For now, sit tight. We’ll bring you any news as it comes in, so check back soon for updates.