Plaintiffs ask to join two Ford sudden acceleration class actions

By John O'Brien | Jun 28, 2013

HUNTINGTON – Plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against Ford Motor Company want their case consolidated with another that was filed in June.

On June 19, the plaintiffs in a March lawsuit alleging Ford vehicles are subject to bursts of sudden acceleration asked U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers, of the Southern District of West Virginia, to consolidate their case with another one filed by mostly the same attorneys.

Both lawsuits make the same allegations – that those who purchased Ford vehicles manufactured between 2002-10 would not have paid as much for them or purchased them at all if they were made aware of the sudden acceleration problems.

“Consolidation of this action with the Smith Action will serve to promote the interests of judicial economy, as well as the savings of expense and the burden on the parties and witnesses,” the plaintiffs say.

According to the plaintiffs, the two lawsuits:

-Involve identical factual allegations;

-Include identical claims under federal and West Virginia law;

-Have been brought on behalf of the identical nationwide class of “[a]ll current and former owners of a Ford Vehicle in the United States”; and

-Have been brought against the same defendant, Ford.

“Consolidation is particularly appropriate for class actions brought on behalf of the same class against the same defendant and involving the same factual and legal allegations,” they say.

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

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 complaints.

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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