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Jeep Owners File Class-Action Suit Against Chrysler

Legal action follows death of 'Beyond' actor Anton Yelchin

Investigators are still trying to determine what exactly happened to Anton Yelchin the early morning hours of June 19. But some owners of Jeep Grand Cherokees aren't waiting, filing a lawsuit they hope will gain class action status.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a Seattle-based law firm that specializes in high-profile class action cases such as this, filed the suit Thursday in a California federal court against Jeep manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, claiming the company "fraudulently concealed and failed to remedy a gear shifter design defect" that affected 811,000 vehicles. The law firm wants to attract class plaintiffs who own 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokees, 2012-14 Chrysler 300s, and 2012-14 Dodge Chargers.

Hagens Berman says that because of the negative publicity surrounding the gear shifter defect, owners of these vehicles have lost value in their cars.

"In making these vehicles, Fiat Chrysler failed at adequately and responsibly designing one of the most basic safety features, the gear shifter," managing partner Steve Berman said in a release. "The current shifters in these affected vehicles leave drivers with insufficient feedback to tell whether the car has actually been placed in park before they exit the vehicle, and it does not have a safety override that automatically puts the car in 'park' if the driver's door is opened and pressure taken off the foot brake."

Yelchin, who is set to appear in next month's "Star Trek: Beyond" as Pavel Chekov, was found by friends on June 19 crushed between a brick wall and his 2015 Grand Cherokee at his Los Angeles home.

While it's still not clear if the defect was to blame for Yelchin's accident, Fiat Chrysler has issued an initial recall of more than 1.1 million vehicles, but the defect has yet to be fixed, the law firm said.

"Fiat Chrysler has chosen to drag its feet on a repair and do the bare minimum — merely sending a letter to registered owners describing the defect," Berman said. "We think it's well past time for Fiat Chrysler to take responsibility for its mistakes and take these cars off the road until and unless it fixes them."

Fiat Chrysler did not respond to a request from CNN for comment.

In the meantime, Yelchin's film co-star Zoe Saldana has spoken out more about the passing of her friend.

"Your sudden and unexpected departure has left us all broken-hearted," Saldana wrote on Instagram, according to Entertainment Weekly. "I woke up today feeling absolute gratitude that I had you as a friend and colleague. Your life has been cut short, but I will always tell everyone about you."

Source: CNN

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