FCA Anti-Whiplash Headrest Deployment Massachusetts Class Action

As plaintiff Maria Costa was driving her husband Mario Soare’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the headrest suddenly deployed, smacking her in the back of the head. The feature is designed to deploy during rear-end collisions, except that no such collision had occurred. The complaint for this class action alleges that FCA US, LLC and the maker of the headrest, Grammer Industries, Inc., knew about the defect in the headrest and did nothing to warn vehicle owners or lessees.

The class for this action is all persons in Massachusetts who own or lease, or have owned or leased any of the subject vehicles, made by FCA or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, and equipped with an ARH system, including the following:

  • 2010-2018 Dodge Journey
  • 2010-2011 Dodge Nitro
  • 2010-2012 Jeep Liberty
  • 2010-2017 Jeep Patriot or Compass
  • 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber
  • 2010-2018 Dodge Caravan
  • 2010-2018 Town & Country
  • 2011-2018 Dodge Durango
  • 2011-2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2010-2014 Sebring/Avenger
  • 2010-2014 Chrysler 200

The headrest is part of the vehicle’s Active Head Restraint (AHR) System which is intended to reduce the risk of whiplash when vehicles are struck from behind. The system consists of front and back padded sections with two springs in between. The front section contains a plastic part called the sled, which has a striker pin. In the back portion is a hook. Normally, the springs are compressed, with the hook holding on to the striker pin.

When the AHR’s sensor senses a rear-end collision, the hook lets go of the striker and the headset deploys—at a speed of 67 miles per hour and with a force of 120 pounds. According to the complaint, however, the AHRs are defective and can deploy without a rear-end collision.

According to the complaint, the cause is “the use of a weak plastic polymer for the sled, and its negative interaction with a chemical compound present in a coating on the striker pins. The plastic polymer is not robust enough to withstand interaction with the compound.” The plastic suffers environmental stress cracking and eventually the pressure of the spring-loaded headrest breaks the sled, “causing the headrest to explode forward.”

The complaint alleges that FCA refuses to take responsibility for the headrests, accusing the owners of the vehicles of tampering with them. FCA requires that they pay for repairs, which can cost $800. Even when the owner does pay for a repair, FCA simply replaces the broken headrest with the same kind of defective headrest, the complaint claims.

Costa claims the blow from the headrest to the back of her head has caused her chronic, severe headaches and neck pain. Her complaints against FCA and Grammer include negligence and strict product liability. The counts also mention things such as fraudulent concealment and breaches of warranty.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Automobile

Most Recent Case Event

FCA Anti-Whiplash Headrest Deployment Massachusetts Complaint

October 2, 2020

As plaintiff Maria Costa was driving her husband Mario Soare’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the headrest suddenly deployed, smacking her in the back of the head. The feature is designed to deploy during rear-end collisions, except that no such collision had occurred. The complaint for this class action alleges that FCA US, LLC and the maker of the headrest, Grammer Industries, Inc., knew about the defect in the headrest and did nothing to warn vehicle owners or lessees.

FCA Anti-Whiplash Headrest Deployment Massachusetts Complaint

Case Event History

FCA Anti-Whiplash Headrest Deployment Massachusetts Complaint

October 2, 2020

As plaintiff Maria Costa was driving her husband Mario Soare’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the headrest suddenly deployed, smacking her in the back of the head. The feature is designed to deploy during rear-end collisions, except that no such collision had occurred. The complaint for this class action alleges that FCA US, LLC and the maker of the headrest, Grammer Industries, Inc., knew about the defect in the headrest and did nothing to warn vehicle owners or lessees.

FCA Anti-Whiplash Headrest Deployment Massachusetts Complaint
Tags: Defective Automobile, Headrests