EAST ST. LOUIS – Carmaker Chrysler and instrument maker Harman International have filed a joint motion with lawyer Brian Flynn of Belleville to scrub a May 14 trial on Flynn’s claim that hackers can seize control of his Jeep.
They filed the motion on March 28, advising U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan that it was consistent with his comments at a hearing in January.
The motion states that May 14 was “not practicable given the current status of the case, as the court has already indicated.”
Two obstacles stood in the way.
First, Reagan has not decided whether to certify Flynn as class representative for Jeep owners with Harman’s UConnect electronic systems.
The loser in his decision would likely appeal to the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.
Second, Harman has asked Reagan to certify an interlocutory appeal on the question of Flynn’s standing.
Harman wants the Seventh Circuit to follow the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, which affirmed a district judge’s denial of standing in a suit against Toyota.
Ninth Circuit judges held last December that, “Plaintiffs have failed to sufficiently allege an injury due to the risk of hacking itself.”
The opinion states that plaintiffs didn’t allege that their vehicles had been hacked.
“More importantly, they do not allege that they are aware of any vehicles that have been hacked outside of controlled environments,” it states.
In the Toyota case, plaintiffs alleged an “imminent eventuality,” and but the Ninth Circuit judges discarded the allegation as speculative.
The opinion states that standing requires a concrete and particularized injury, but plaintiffs failed to allege injury due to overpaying.
“This economic loss theory is not credible, as the allegations that the vehicles are worth less are conclusory and unsupported by any facts,” the opinion states.
It points out that nearly 100 percent of cars on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions.
In January, Chrysler and Harman asked Reagan to reconsider an earlier order that granted standing to Flynn.
Christopher Baucom of Armstrong Teasdale, leader of Flynn’s legal team, answered that Flynn suffered an injury of overpayment the moment he bought his Jeep.
Reagan reviewed the Ninth Circuit decision and declined to reverse his ruling.
On March 19, Harman asked him to certify his decision for Seventh Circuit review.
Chrysler joined Harman’s motion on April 2.
Flynn works as city attorney for Belleville, Fairmont City, and Millstadt.