Monday, January 18

Harley Target Of Class Action Over ABS System

DETROIT, Mich.–Harley-Davidson is the target of a class-action suit alleging the brakes on certain 2008-2010 models are defective.

The lead plaintiff, Ronald Garcia, alleges that a wiring flaw can cause brake failure in 2008 through 2010 Touring and CVO Touring Harley Davidson motorcycles. Wires, according to his complaint, can break as riders turn the wheel back and forth, potentially causing the antilock brake system to fail.

“A rider with a malfunctioning ABS could face an emergency, apply the brakes exactly as instructed by Harley­Davidson, and, with no notice that his motorcycle had a nonfunctioning ABS, lock the wheels — potentially causing a sudden, violent, loss of control that, as Harley­Davidson warned, could result in death or serious injury,” contends the Harley Davidson class action lawsuit.

According to the suit, Harley Davidson has been aware of the alleged brake defect because of consumer complaints and its own tests soon after the 2008 model was released. The company only redesigned the bikes in 2011. Additionally, Garcia says no warning has been issued to riders with the 2008 through 2010 models, nor has there been any effort to fix or retrofit the affected motorcycles.

“Despite having known of the wire-breakage problem since at least 2008, despite knowing that the operator of a motorcycle with a defective ABS wiring harness would not have any immediate signal that his motorcycle lacked ABS, and despite knowing that a rider following ABS braking instructions on a motorcycle lacking it could apply the brakes in such a way as to cause serious injury or death, Harley-Davidson has taken no action to notify owners and operators of these motorcycles about this defect, or to repair, replace, repurchase, or upgrade affected motorcycles,” alleges the class action lawsuit.

Wires between the speed sensor and the engine control unit on the bikes, that cost approximately $20,000 when purchased, break during normal turning motions while riding the affected motorcycles, alleges the class action lawsuit. The brake defect allegedly causes the system to lock up when riders apply the brakes as instructed in the event of an emergency quick stop.

The Harley Davidson class action lawsuit seeks to represent a nationwide Class of consumers who purchased or leased a 2008 through 2010 Touring or CVO Touring motorcycle, along with a California subclass.

Lead plaintiff Ronald Garcia and the proposed Class are represented by Nicholas W. Armstrong of Price Armstrong LLC, and Mark N. Todzo of Lexington Law Group LLP.

The Harley Davidson Class Action Lawsuit is Garcia v. Harley­Davidson Motor Co. Inc., Case No. 3:19­cv­02054, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

About Author


David Kiley is Chief of Content for The BRAKE Report. Kiley is an award-winning business journalist and author, having covered the auto industry for USA Today, Businessweek, AOL/Huffington Post, as well as written articles for Automobile and Popular Mechanics.