Another sudden acceleration class action filed against Ford

By John O'Brien | Jun 20, 2013

HUNTINGTON – Another class action lawsuit against Ford Motor Company has been filed in a West Virginia federal court.

A complaint filed June 12 follows one entered March 28 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in Huntington. Both allege Ford automobiles suddenly accelerated and lacked safety measures to prevent crashes.

The vehicles at issues were manufactured between 2002 and 2010. They were equipped with an electronic throttle control but not adequate fail-safe systems to prevent incidents of sudden unintended acceleration, the complaint says.

“In addition, and most significantly, regardless of the cause of these admittedly foreseeable events, the Ford vehicles share a common design defect in that they lack adequate fail-safe systems, including a reliable Brake Over Accelerator system that would allow a driver to mitigate sudden unintended acceleration by depressing the brake,” the complaint says.

“Each person who has owned or leased a Ford vehicle vulnerable to sudden unintended acceleration during the time period relevant to this action paid more for the Ford vehicle than they would have paid, or would not have purchased or leased the Ford vehicle altogether, because of the defective nature of the Ford vehicles resulting from the absence of a fail-safe such as a BOA to prevent sudden unintended acceleration events in each of them.”

The federal court has jurisdiction because there are more than 100 class members nationwide and the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, the complaint says. Judge Robert C. Chambers has been assigned the case.

The plaintiffs attorneys have named 15 plaintiffs from various states who own various Ford models.

The first plaintiff listed is Pamela D. Smith, a resident of Milton who owns an F-150. The complaint does not allege any wrongful death or personal injury claims.

“(A)dvertisements about safety and reliability influenced her decision to purchase her F-150,” the complaint says.

“Had those advertisements and any other materials Plaintiff Smith saw disclosed that Ford vehicles could accelerate suddenly and dangerously out of the driver’s control, and lacked adequate fail-safe systems to prevent this, she would not have purchased her F-150, or certainly would not have paid as much for it as she did.

“Plaintiff Smith thus suffered injury because she paid more for her vehicle than she should have.”

Other plaintiffs making the same claim are from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

The complaint says it has also been filed before the tolling of the statute of limitations because the plaintiffs could not have known their vehicles were vulnerable to sudden unintended acceleration and because Ford concealed this from them.

Lincoln and Mercury vehicles from the same years are included in the complaint.

Several attorneys nationwide combined efforts on the complaint.

From West Virginia are Niall A. Paul of Spilman Thomas & Battle in Charleston; Guy Bucci, Timothy Bailey and Lee Javins of Bucci Bailey & Javins in Charleston; and Edgar F. Heiskell III of Charleston.

Most of the same attorneys filed the March 28 complaint.

The out-of-state firms on the June complaint are: Grant & Eisenhofer of Chicago; The DiCello Law Firm of Mentor, Ohio; Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny of Leawood, Kan.; Murray and Murray of Sandusky, Ohio; Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley of West Palm Beach, Fla.; Siprut P.C. of Chicago; Bremer, Whyte, Brown & O’Meara of Newport Beach, Calif.; The Miller Law Firm of Rochester, Mich.; Davis, Bethune & Jones of Kansas City, Mo.; Isaac, Wiles, Burkholder & Teetor of Columbus, Ohio; Gomez & Iagmin of San Diego; Laffey, Bucci & Kent of Philadelphia.

The last three firms listed were not on the March complaint. Ford has yet to file an answer to the complaint in that case.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at

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