A Belleville attorney is among plaintiffs named in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in East St. Louis against Fiat Chrysler, maker of Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler models, after an article was published describing how hackers were able to hack into the computer system used by a Jeep SUV that was traveling on Interstate 64 in St. Louis.
Brian Flynn, an attorney at Flynn, Guymon & Garavalia in Belleville, and George and Kelly Brown of Pacific, Mo., are named as plaintiffs in the suit. Their attorneys are asking the court to certify the case as a class-action that would include other Fiat Chrysler owners as plaintiffs.
Flynn owns a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Browns own a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, each equipped with a uConnect computer system that allows for WiFi hotspots and other entertainment options in Jeep SUVs, Dodge trucks and some Dodge cars.
The Wired Magazine article detailed how friendly hackers remotely accessed the uConnect system in a Jeep driven by the author and manipulated the radio, door locks and winshield wipers and even shut down the vehicle as it drove on I-64 in St. Louis after rewriting code in the uConnect hardware.
The maker of the software, Stamford, Ct.,-based Harmon International Industries, Inc., also is named as a defendant in the suit.
Two days after the article was published, Fiat Chrysler announced a recall of vehicles equipped with the uConnect system.
Court documents show Flynn and the Browns claim that the Jeep models they purchased are worth less due to the defective computer system compared to vehicles with non-defective software, and that the risk of a serious accident is greater in the vehicles they purchased compared to others.
What’s more, they claim Fiat Chrysler knew about the vulnberabilities in the uConnect software for well over a year before the July recall was announced.
Neither Christopher Cueto nor Michal Gras, who are listed as the plaintiffs’ attorneys, could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Return to BND.com for more on this developing story.