Cadillac Window Sticker Class Action Gets Nod From Court

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on May 19, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Here's some good news for litigious Cadillac drivers. The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a lower court's finding that purchasers of GM's 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans could properly be certified as a class for purposes of suit.

It's a second validation for the plaintiffs, who had earlier beat opposing motions by GM in a lower federal district court. Under the Eleventh Circuit's affirmation, all Floridian's who purchased 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans could be part of the class of plaintiffs suing under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

False Numbers

The suit arises out of allegations that "Monroney" window stickers, which appear on all cars for sale on a dealer lot, failed to properly inform potential buyers of material safety information as required by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). This sticker not only provides mileage information, but also includes rollover risk, risk to the driver in the event of a crash, and overall safety information relating to passengers in the event of an accident.

In the present case, the plaintiffs allege that the NHTSA had not yet compiled safety ratings for the 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans in question. The stickers couldn't have been the actual numbers by the NHTSA because the car had not yet been tested.

When plaintiffs challenged GM about this, GM attempted to placate plaintiffs with upgrades such as satellite radio and On-Star service. And when the NHTSA did provide numbers, they were not five-star ratings as consumers had been led to believe.

Attempts to Challenge

GM pushed many theories in court to derail class certification, but the judges remained unconvinced. The necessary elements of commonality, typicality, numerosity and adequacy had been met, despite GM's counter-arguments. And since the lower court's certification of the class was analyzed under an abuse of discretion standard, the circuit had little choice but to affirm that decision.

Incidentally, GM has another class action/sticker related snafu to deal with. That one involved mileage and that's something everyone can get mad about...

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