LOS ANGELES -- Jeep Grand Cherokee owners filed suit in California against Fiat Chrysler, accusing the company of concealing and failing to fix a shifter design defect linked to driverless rollaway accidents, including the death this week of "Star Trek" actor Anton Yelchin.
The class-action complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Riverside, Calif., east of Los Angeles, alleges that the design flaw affects 811,000 vehicles, including 2014-15 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees, 2012-14 Chrysler 300s and 2012-14 Dodge Chargers.
The lawsuit states that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV concealed both its shifter design defect and hundreds of related accidents that caused property damage and injuries. The plaintiffs also allege that the "raft of negative publicity" surrounding the recent disclosure of the problem has greatly diminished the resale value of their vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler spokesman Michael Palese said the automaker has not yet been served with the lawsuit and it would be inappropriate to comment before the company had reviewed the case.
But the lawsuit came on the same day that the chief of the company's Jeep brand, Mike Manley, said software upgrades for 1.1 million Jeep vehicles recalled for rollaway risks, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, would be available by the end of this month.
A 2015 Grand Cherokee was involved in Sunday's death of Yelchin, 27, who was crushed when his vehicle rolled backward on the steep driveway of his Los Angeles home, pinning him against a brick wall and a fence.
The problem of vehicles rolling away was compounded for Fiat Chrysler on Thursday when its Maserati brand recalled 13,092 Quattroporte and Ghibli luxury cars in the United States for issues similar to the Jeep recalls.