Harley Davidson Faces Class Claims Over Faulty Brakes

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On April 16, 2019, class claims were filed against famed motorcycle manufacturer, Harley Davidson Motor Company (“Harley Davidson”) in federal court in the Northern District of California. The suite alleges that the company knowingly sold tens of thousands of motorcycles with a hidden and dangerous defect in its anti-lock braking system (“ABS”).

In the complaint, plaintiff Ronald Garcia states that the defendant priced its 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Touring and CVO Touring model motorcycles significantly higher due to the inclusion of the ABS. Harley Davidson instructs riders to use different braking techniques in emergency situations depending whether the bike in question is equipped with ABS or not. Per Harley Davidson’s own informational material, using the emergency braking techniques intended for an ABS-equipped bike on a non-equipped bike could cause “loss of vehicle control resulting in death or serious injury.”

The plaintiff claims that in 2008, the defendant discovered that normal motion of turning the front wheel back and forth would lead to breakage in the wires connecting the speed sensor to the engine control unit (“ECU”). According to the complaint, if the wires connecting the speed sensor to the ECU are severed, the ABS would become nonfunctioning and the emergency braking technique promoted by the defendant would put riders at a serious risk of injury. However, despite knowing the serious complications that could arise from issues with the ABS, Harley Davidson continued to sell the defective bikes to both private citizens and municipalities with motorcycle law enforcement squads through 2010. Harley Davidson allegedly did not remedy the defective ABS wiring in its bikes until 2011.

Plaintiff is seeking to represent a nationwide class made up of any individuals or entities in the U.S. who purchased or leased for years 2008-2010, the model Harley Davidson Touring or CVO Touring motorcycles. In addition to the nationwide class, plaintiff seeks to represent a California class for affected California residents and entities. The suit brings cause of action for unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices, breach of express warranties, breach of implied warranty, violation of Song-Beverly Act, violation of Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act, violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, unjust enrichment and declaratory judgment. The class is seeking damages in excess of $5,000,000.

The case is: Garcia v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Inc., Case No.: 3:19-cv-02054, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


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