HUNTINGTON - Ford Motor Company is being sued in a class action lawsuit by customers who claim their vehicles suddenly accelerated and lacked safety measures to prevent crashes.

Lance R. Belville; Donald C. Carr; Mindi Stewart; Stanley Stewart; Dean Richardson; Christine Salamone; Charles Johnson; Jill Durant; Beverly Gorton; Josh Legato; Michael Antramgarza; Roofwerks Inc.; Quintin Williams; ACA Legal Investigations Inc.; John McGee; Mills Allison; David H. Patton; Inez A. Patton; Laura Elsinger; and Gabriel Kletschka purchased or leased one or more Ford vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2010 equipped with an electronic throttle control system, but not equipped with adequate fail-safe systems to prevent incidents of sudden unintended acceleration, according to a complaint filed March 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia-Huntington Division.

The plaintiffs claim Ford could have and should have prevented the dangers presented by foreseeable incidents by including a Brake Override System or other fail-safe systems in its vehicles.

Beginning in 2010, recognizing its deadly failure to implement adequate fail-safe systems on its earlier Ford vehicles, Ford began installing a Brake Override System on some of its North American vehicles, but it failed to remedy, or even warn owners and/or lessees about, the lack of a Brake Override System or other fail-safe system on its earlier Ford vehicles, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the Ford models they owned or leased include the 2005 through 2010 Ford Mustang, 2002 through 2005 Mercury Cougar and 2004 through 2010 Ford Explorer.

Ford's unfair or deceptive practices were likely to and did in fact deceive reasonable consumers, including the plaintiffs and other class members, about the true safety and reliability of Ford vehicles, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim in purchasing or leasing their vehicles, they relied on the misrepresentations and/or omissions by Ford with respect to the safety and reliability of the vehicles.

Ford's representations turned out not to be true because the vehicles can unexpectedly and dangerously accelerate out of the drivers' control and lack adequate fail-safe systems to prevent this, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, for the court to enjoin Ford from continuing the unfair business practices and pre- and post-judgment interest.

They are being represented by Niall A. Paul and Nathan B. Atkinson of Spilman, Thomas & Battle PLLC; Adam J. Levitt and John E. Tangren of Grant & Eisenhofer; Mark DiCello and Robert F. DiCello of the DiCello Law Firm; Guy R. Bucci, Timothy C. Bailey and Lee Javins of Bucci Bailey & Javins; James R. Bartimus and Stephen M. Gorny of Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny; John T. Murray of Murray and Murray Co.; John Scarola and C. Calvin Warriner III of Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley; Joseph J. Siprut and Aleksandra M.S. Vold of Siprut PC; Keith G. Bremer, Alison K. Hurley and Benjamin L. Price of Bremer, Whyte, Brown & O'Meara LLP; E. Powell Miller and Richard L. Merpi II of the Miller Law Firm; Grant L. Davis and Timothy C. Gaarder of Davis, Bethune & Jones; and Edgar F. Heiskell III.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Chambers.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia-Huntington Division case number: 3:13-cv-6529

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