Judge dismisses class action claims vs Porsche over overheating engines, damage

By Marian Johns | May 29, 2019

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MIAMI — A federal judge has granted Porsche a dismissal for one of three claims alleged in a class action suit filed by a Miami-Dade man and a Hillsborough County man, alleging the carmaker knew of an engine cooling system safety defect in some of its vehicles.    

According to May 21 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida filing, defendant Porsche Cars North America Inc. asked the court to dismiss the three-count lawsuit filed by plaintiffs Santiago Padilla and Murray Shames, among others. The plaintiffs' three counts against Porsche include violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA); breach of implied warranty of merchantability under Florida law; and declaratory relief to include Porsche's declaration of the defect in the cooling systems and repair and replacement in the defective vehicles. 

The lawsuit was filed in November 2018 after Padilla, who purchased a used 2011 Porsche Panamera from a dealer in Miami, and Shames, who purchased a used 2011 Cayenne S from Carmax in Tampa, allege they spent thousands on repair bills after their vehicles allegedly suffered damage from overheated engines caused by a defect in the cooling system.

The plaintiffs argue that Porsche knew of the defect in the epoxy adhesive used in the coolant pipes thermostat housing for more than a decade but continued to sell their cars as "high-end performance vehicles" which were safe. 

U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno concluded the plaintiffs could not claim breach of implied warranty of merchantability under Florida law because the used cars were purchased through dealerships and not directly from Porsche therefore there was "no contractual privity." That count was then dismissed with prejudice. 

The court dismissed the other counts, but allowed plaintiffs to amend to allow additional gathering of facts regarding the FDUTPA claims and statute of limitations.

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