A nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of named Plaintiffs James Bruner, Michael Zeeck and Ed Beattie, individually and on behalf of the other members of the class, against off-road vehicle manufacturer and distributors Polaris Industries, Inc. and Polaris Sales Inc. The lawsuit alleges Polaris has sold multiple models in its Ranger and RZR lines that suffer from a design defect that creates a significant and unreasonable risk of the vehicles overheating and catching fire. This defect has resulted in more than 250 fires, more than 30 severe injuries and at least three deaths. The Plaintiffs are represented by W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, who is head of the Consumer Fraud Section at Beasley Allen Law Firm, and National Trial Lawyers member Adam Levitt, a partner of DiCello Levitt and Casey.
“Since at least 2011, Polaris has prioritized performance, style and cost savings over safety and in so doing produced over 400,000 recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs) that can overheat and catch fire,” Miles said. “Polaris has yet to offer owners an effective fix, so we filed to help bring about that change. “
Levitt adds, “Polaris has continued selling Ranger and RZR off-road vehicles with ProStar engines, despite knowing that they suffer from an acute risk of catching fire. Our lawsuit hopes to force Polaris to seriously confront this issue and to start putting its customers’ safety above corporate profits.”
Class vehicles include the 2011-2014 RZR XP 900 series, 2012-2018 RZR 570 series, 2014-2018 RZR XP 1000 series, 2015-2018 RZR 900 and S 900 series, 2016-2018 RZR XP Turbo series, 2016-2018 General 1000 series, 2014-2018 Ranger XP 900 series, 2017-2018 Ranger XP 1000, 2014-2018 Ranger Crew XP 900, 2014-2018 Ranger 570 series, 2014-2018 Ranger 570 Crew series, and 2017-2018 Ranger 500.
According to the complaint, the class vehicles contain a design defect in which the vehicles’ high-powered “ProStar” engine is located directly behind the occupant compartment, without proper ventilation and heat shielding. Because it is located within inches of combustible plastic body panels and close to vehicle occupants, it poses a high risk of fire and injury to passengers.
The complaint is filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
Polaris also recently agreed to pay a $27.25 million penalty to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to settle two late-reporting claims about RVs that were at risk for fire, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.