BALTIMORE—Four potential class-action lawsuits against Michelin North America Inc. and American Honda Motor Co. have been consolidated in Baltimore federal district court.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted Michelin's petition Feb. 15 to consolidate the four cases, which had been filed in federal district courts in Arizona, Illinois, Florida and New York.
The litigation seeks injunctive relief, damages and restitution on behalf of a projected class that includes owners of 2005-07 Honda Odyssey Touring and Acura RL models that came with Michelin's Pax run-flat tire/wheel system as original equipment.
The class is not limited to those consumers, according to the brief filed in Arizona.
“The inclusion of the Pax system on these vehicles has resulted in widespread discontent, frustration and anger by class members,” the lawsuit alleges. “(Michelin and Honda) have affirmatively misrepresented the purported benefits of the Pax system and further concealed material information about the system.”
The suit claims Honda and Michelin withheld the following information: that Pax tires need to be replaced as often as every 15,000 miles; that they are prohibitively expensive to repair or replace; and that there are not nearly enough Pax repair facilities, tires, wheels or rings to meet basic demand.
It was routine for the panel to consolidate the class actions, said Mark Anderson of the San Francisco law firm of Kemnitzer, Anderson, Barron, Ogilvie & Brewer. Mr. Anderson is one of a number of plaintiffs' attorneys across the U.S. involved in the litigation.
Two earlier class actions filed by other attorneys were dismissed in the Baltimore court late last year, according to a Michelin spokeswoman. The new consolidated cases will come before the same judge, she said.
“We find no merit to these cases, and we would expect a similar outcome,” the spokeswoman added.
Mr. Anderson said he could not predict the court's decision because he has never before dealt with this particular judge. Besides the federal litigation, Mr. Anderson's firm also is handling a state class-action lawsuit involving the Pax system before the Alameda County, Calif., district court, he said.