The accidental death of Anton Yelchin on June 19 is heading to the courts – at least as part of a proposed class action lawsuit filed today. Seeking restitution for the now-fallen resale value of their vehicles and referencing the Star Trek actor’s death, the complaint filed Thursday accuses Jeep Grand Cherokee manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of intentionally covering up fatal design flaws and deaths from the defects.
“The safety issue is real,” says the complaint (read it here) filed by class action specializing firm Hagens Berman Sobel Shapiro LLP for Deryl Wall, Justine Andollo, Danielle and Joby Hackett. “Well over 300 accidents have already been reported, causing dozens of serious injuries, and potentially the death of Anton Yelchin, a young Hollywood actor who was crushed to death when his own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his drive and pinned him against his brick mailbox.”
Having played Chekov in the Star Trek reboot films and with several other movies slated for release, Yelchin’s death Sunday came just over a month before the Justin Lin-directed and Paramount Pictures-distributed Star Trek Beyond is set to open. Yelchin’s SUV was one of 1.1 million Fiat Chrysler vehicles subject to a global recall because of a gearshift problem that has confused drivers, causing the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly.
The jury-seeking complaint filed in federal court also seeks an injunction to halt the company’s alleged deceptive practices, punitive damages for fraud, “immediate installation of a safety override system or replacement of the defective ZF Shifter,” a temporary replacement car and compensation for any additional costs owners may have incurred.
“FCA’s unreasonable delay in fixing the defect and its warning letter was obviously too little, too late for Mr. Yelchin, and nearly a million Defective Shifter Vehicles remain in unsuspecting owners’ driveways and garages,” the complaint notes. “As a result of this dangerous defect, the Defective Shifter Vehicles are ‘unsafe in any driveway’ and the value of each Defective Shifter Vehicle has diminished, and it will remain depressed even if an effective fix is eventually applied.”