Mr. Zwicker's speedometer has failed completely in April 2006 but unfortunately General Motors refused to replace the defective speedometer stating that the truck was no longer covered by the three-year, 36,000 mile warranty period. Mr. Zwicker has purchased an extended warranty which he paid $100 for a new speedometer and not the regular price of $400 to $500.
Mr. Zwicker who is currently living in Snohomish is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of other people who also have complaints about their GM vehicles. The lawsuit which was filed last week in the US District Court in Seattle is sufficient to cover complaints of all Washington residents who purchased GM trucks and sport utility vehicles from 2003 to 2007 and who, like Mr. Zwicker need to have their defective speedometers replaced.
Mr. Zwicker has commented that although he is an experienced and careful driver he is uncomfortable to drive not knowing how fast you are going. "I don't think it's fair that a major manufacturer such as GM can let something like this go by and not give it some serious thought."
An almost similar suit was filed this week at the US District Court in Oregon by John Hall who said that he has paid $427.50 in January just to fix the defective speedometer of his 2003 GMC Envoy LE. According to Beth Terrell, an attorney with the Seattle law firm of Tousley Brain Stephens who is representing Hall and Zwicker, the lawsuits in Washington and Oregon are both seeking class-action status. The suits currently cover are five Chevrolet models namely and Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, and Trailblazer; and four GMC models—Denali, Envoy, Sierra, and Trailblazer; plus a Cadillac Escalade.
Terrell said that additional suits may soon follow in other states but at present there is no plan in consolidating the cases into a single national suit against General Motors. "We think it makes sense to prosecute GM in each state on behalf of that state's residents."
According to GM's spokeswoman, the company will not issue any official statement regarding the alleged lawsuits filed against it until it has seen these lawsuits. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Zwicker is asking for three types of compensation and these are:
1. replacement of all defective speedometers of affected models
2. reimbursement for those who has spent to have their defective speedometer replaced
3. reimbursement for those who have paid speeding tickets caused by the defective speedometers
4. reimbursement for those whose insurance rates have increased as a result of the speeding tickets caused by GM's defective speedometer
The legal filing includes quotes from 19 complaints which are posted on the web sites of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other sites that feature the alleged problems with GM speedometers. US District Judge John Coughenour has been assigned on the case and will decide whether to certify the lawsuit as a class-action.