Harley-Davidson hit with class action suit over coolant leak claims

By Kenneth Lowe | Sep 17, 2014

One of the country’s loudest and most patriotic brands faces a possible class action suit over allegations that its motorcycles can’t hold their coolant.

Robert Okon of Bloomingdale filed suit against Harley-Davidson Inc. late last month in Chicago's federal court and asked a judge to certify a class to take on the Wisconsin-based motorcycle manufacturer and symbol of American ingenuity.

Okon bought a Harley-Davidson CVO Limited for $46,000 in September 2013. The bike - which according to Harley-Davidson’s website weighs in at just under half a ton and sports a 6-gallon tank, a 1,800 cc engine and a stereo speaker system - came with an unlimited-mile warranty, according to his suit.

Okon claims his purchase soon began causing him unforeseen problems.

“Since September 30, 2013, Mr. Okon has returned his CVO Limited to Conrad’s on two further occasions and once each to City Limits, Peterson’s, and Woodstock Harley because it constantly leaks coolant,” the suit states, citing maintenance shops Okon has used.

It adds, “For each of these times when Mr. Okon’s CVO Limited has been brought in for repair of the coolant leak, the Harley-Davidson dealerships have been unsuccessful in repairing the leak.”

In seeking class action status, Okon alleges other riders have also experienced similar buyer’s remorse.

“Mr. Okon and numerous other putative class members notified Harley-Davidson that each of (and collectively all) their CVO Limited motorcycles suffered from the coolant leak defect when they brought those motorcycles to a Harley-Davidson authorized dealership for repair of a coolant leak,” the suit states.

The putative class would include “all persons who purchased or leased for personal, family, or household purposes model year 2014 or newer CVO Limited motorcycles and who were unable to have the coolant leak defect repaired.”

According to a Sept. 2 docket entry, U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve denied Okon’s motion to certify a class action without prejudice to refile, but also put Harley-Davidson on notice that the case is a putative class action.

In his Aug. 28 motion to certify, Okon cited the “hundreds (if not thousands)” of riders who may have bought the CVO Limited.

Okon's suit alleges breach of warranty in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act, and seeks damages that include aggravation, inconvenience and attorneys’ fees.

A status hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 14.

Court records show Vincent L. DiTommaso, Peter S. Lubin, John Auchter, Patrick D. Austermuehle, John R. McInerney and Andrew C. Murphy of DiTommaso Lubin P.C. in Oakbrook Terrace are representing Okon.

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