Jaguar Land Rover is being sued over a ‘defective’ Range Rover gear selector that one man claims caused the death of his wife and is at the center of hundreds of other claims that cars rolled away while parked.
Michael Farhat is suing the company over the death of his fashion designer wife Shadi after she was run over and killed by her luxury SUV that she believed she had parked.
His lawsuit includes video of the accident that he claims was caused by the revolving dial gear selector fitted to the Range Rover and many other Jaguar Land Rover vehicles.
Mrs Farhat repeatedly complained that she could not tell when the vehicle was in park, struggling to operate the gear selector that is a dial that ‘pops out’ of the dashboard console and rotates to select gears.
He alleges the company has received hundreds of similar complaints, including 28 about Range Rovers, and US federal regulators spent four years investigating reports of unintended rollaways but closed its investigation this year.
The Range Rover had been stopped in a Los Angeles parking lot when Shadi stepped out, thinking she had put the gear into park
Footage shows the car rolling back after Mrs Farhat had stepped out, trapping her feet under the door
Mrs Farhat repeatedly complained that she could not tell when the vehicle was in park, struggling to operate the gear selector that is a dial
The revolving gear selector is fitted to the Range Rover and many other Jaguar Land Rover vehicles, with park and reverse next to each other on the dial (file image)
Mrs Farhat stepped out of her 2017 Range Rover SUV in Los Angeles in 2018 when it started rolling back, trapping her underneath the wheel in the horrific footage shared by the family with CBS as part of the lawsuit.
The mother-of-two from Los Angeles made it to her feet before collapsing and she died days later.
Mr Farhat, who is now raising their two daughters alone, blames the ‘defective gear selector’ which he claims can cause confusion for drivers.
He told CBS News: ‘She complained about it a lot, “I can’t tell when it’s in park, I can’t tell if it’s in reverse, I can’t tell if it’s in drive”.’
Michael cited company documents from 2017 in his lawsuit which purport to show the company was aware of hundreds of potential rollaway complaints in cars with a dial shifter.
He claims 28 complaints alone occurred in the Range Rover model.
Michael (top left) has taken legal action against Jaguar Land Rover over the ‘defective gear selector’ which he claims can cause confusion for drivers such as his wife (top right, pictured with their two daughters)
When the engine is turned off in different Jaguar Land Rover models, the gear selector is stored in a lower position
When the engine is turned on, the dial rises, allowing the driver to rotate it from the parked setting
In the Jaguar Land Rover vehicle documents, it states: ‘Before exiting the vehicle, make sure that the vehicle is stationary. Select Park. Apply the Electric Parking Brake (EPB). Switch the engine off.
‘The vehicle can move unexpectedly with any other gear position selected, which may result in death or serious injury.’
Gina Warsavsky says she suffered a similar accident last month when her SUV knocked her over and ran over her right hand, which left her needing reconstructive surgery.
She said she thought she had left the car in park when she got out and it started reversing towards her.
Gina, who us also suing Jaguar Land Rover, said: ‘It was horrific. It was a nightmare that is forever haunting me.’
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spent nearly four years investigating unintended rollaways involving a dial shifter in Jaguar Land Rover cars.
Her husband Michael, who is now raising their two daughters alone, blames the gear selector which uses a dial instead of a stick
They ended their investigation in August after failing to identify any mechanical or electronic faults, instead blaming ‘operator error’.
In court filings, Land Rover has also denied fault and said the accidents were the fault of the drivers.
The NHTSA said it is still monitoring the issue and they will take further action if new information surfaces.
Attorney Dylan Ruga, who is representing both Farhat and Warsavsky, said: ‘Drivers are confused and Land Rover knows that drivers are confused. And this unfortunately is the inevitable result of what happens when people think the car is in park and it is not.’
Michael (top, pictured with his two daughters and wife, bottom) cited company documents from 2017 in his lawsuit which purport to show the company was aware of hundreds of potential rollaway complaints
Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin died in a suspected rollaway accident in 2016 when his Jeep Grand Cherokee trapped him against a brick pillar.
After the incident, many carmakers added new safety features to prevent similar accidents, but Land Rover only added the feature in 2018 to hybrid Range Rovers.
The company declined to comment to CBS on the incidents due to ongoing legal action.
But they said in a statement: ‘Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC is committed to the safety of our customers and is saddened to hear of these incidents. As this matter is now related to pending litigation, we are unable to comment further.’
The NHTSA encourages vehicle owners to report and safety related defects online or through the agency’s hotline at 888-327-4236.