SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – People are being injured by Nissan vehicles that do not meet federal standards, a class action claims in Federal Court. The class claims Nissan’s “Intelligent Key” can be turned off in any gear and removed even if the car is not in Park.
Nissan’s Intelligent Key has an electronic chip; it starts the ignition with the press of a button on the dashboard and also can be used to start the car remotely. But unlike its competitors, Nissan vehicles are not equipped with a solenoid that locks that transponder in place, according to the complaint. As a result, Nissan vehicles can be turned off in any gear and the key can be removed whether or not the car is in park.
Lead plaintiff Frances Taylor says her 2009 Nissan Murano injured her when it rolled backward on its own. Taylor says she had parked the car in a parking lot, turned off the engine and removed the key, and had opened the back door to retrieve a package when the car moved, catching her foot in the open door and “dragging her along, severely crushing her foot.”
Her husband says he witnessed the incident and saw the car stopped on top of his wife’s foot though the key was still in her hand. Frances Taylor says she can no longer work because of her injury.
“The Taylors are excellent examples of what happens when vehicles are non FMSV compliant,” said their attorney Scott Nealey.
Nealey said the Taylors got the brush-off when they complained to Nissan.
“They got the traditional dismissal of ‘Oh, we don’t know what’s going on,’ and, ‘We don’t know what you’re talking about,'” said Nealey.
Nealey said he found it difficult to believe the Taylors’ story.
“People don’t expect vehicles to just roll away,” he said. “We couldn’t believe it until they told us that the key had been in her hand and that her husband had to get it from her in order to move the car off of her foot. That raised a red flag.”
The class seeks punitive damages and a permanent injunction requiring Nissan to repair the defect. They are represented by Elizabeth Cabraser and Scott Nealey with Lieff Cabraser.