Volkswagen has some legal troubles that go beyond the ongoing "Dieselgate" scandal.

While VW waits for approval of a settlement for 2.0-liter 4-cylinder TDI cars with illegal "defeat device" software, it faces a class-action lawsuit related to another model.

That would be the Jetta Hybrid compact sedan, which was removed from Volkswagen's U.S. lineup after the 2016 model year.

DON'T MISS: Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid pulled from VW's U.S. lineup in 2017

A California judge rejected VW's attempt to force a lawsuit over the Jetta Hybrid to go to arbitration, according to Law360 (subscription required, via Jere Beasley Report).

Filed in August 2015 by Jetta Hybrid owner Peter Bryan Burra, the suit argues that there is a problem with the Jetta Hybrid's regenerative braking system.

The owner alleges that the Jetta Hybrid's regenerative braking system functions in an "unpredictable manner," making it difficult for drivers to judge how much stopping distance is needed in a given situation.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

In the suit, Burra says he rear-ended other cars on two occasions—in August 2013 and January 2015—and blames this alleged unpredictability for both incidents.

Volkswagen initially pointed to an arbitration agreement Burra signed as part of the sales contract for his car, which applies to "any claim or dispute" which "arises or relates to" the Jetta Hybrid.

CHECK OUT: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid: First Drive (Nov 2012)

The automaker was not a signatory of the sales contract, but argued that the relevant clause also covered third parties.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle ruled that Volkswagen can't enforce an arbitration agreement Burra signed with a dealer when purchasing a 2013 Jetta Hybrid.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

The judge rejected VW's argument on two grounds: Burra's claim was not related to the contract, since it is not a warranty issue, and Volkswagen was not explicitly covered by the arbitration agreement.

The Jetta Hybrid was introduced for the 2013 model year as the most fuel efficient variant of VW's popular Jetta compact sedan.

But low gas prices hurt its sales, which gradually declined from the model's launch.

VW sold 49,659 Jetta Hybrid sedans between the car's 2013 launch and May 2015, right before it announced the model's withdrawal from the U.S.

[hat tip: George K]


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