Week Adjourned: 6.25.11

Top Class Actions

The Tailgate Crack’d? Tailgates aren’t the only thing showing cracks at Ford, it seems. Ford’s in hot water this week as it finds itself facing a consumer fraud class action. The Ford lawsuit, filed Northern District of California, seeks to represent anyone in the country who purchased certain makes and models of SUVs that have experienced damage, as in “a large crack to the tailgate of the vehicle.”  

Well, that would be a little hard to miss. Apparently, or at least according to the lawsuit, Ford “knowingly and fraudulently concealed the cracked tailgate issue in connection with its sale and delivery of model 2002 through model 2005 Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers, and model 2003 through model 2005 Lincoln Aviators.” 

Indeed? Indeed. Indeed, according to the cracked tailgate lawsuit, although Ford knew about the problem in early-2002, the company continued to sell the affected vehicles and systematically refused to repair or replace the damaged tailgates both inside and outside of the warranty period. Umm. That could be a real pain. 

So, the lawsuit alleges that Ford continued sale and delivery of these vehicles and thereby violated the various consumer protection laws of the United States and that Ford’s actions also constitute common law fraud, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment.

The Complaint also alleges that Ford made material misrepresentations and concealed material information regarding the design defect that caused the cracked tailgate issue. Moreover, Ford intentionally misled the public so they could continue to sell the affected Ford vehicles and avoid the expense of repair or redesign of the cracked tailgates. Go all that? Not very good for business. Not good at all, actually, if the allegations prove true. 

Top Settlements

Award puts Focus on the Suffering Silent. Every once in a while a story like this makes the news and it’s sad because it takes this kind of distress before attention is paid, it seems. Recently, an elderly nursing home resident was awarded a $4.4 million settlement in a negligence lawsuit. 

The short version is that in 2009, 79-year old Samuel Nevarrez was admitted to San Marino Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre for rehabilitation after he had fallen at home several times. He stayed at the nursing home for six weeks and during that time he fell a further nine times, which, he claimed in his lawsuit, caused him to suffer a subdural hematoma and a subsequent stroke. That’s a lot of falling.

Nevarrez later returned to the facility where he suffered a further two falls and following the last fall he was placed in hospice. Nevarrez sued the nursing home and its management company, the Country Villa Service Corp, claiming that the staff at the facility did not prevent his falls. The jury hearing the elder care lawsuit found the nursing home 40 percent at fault and Nevarrez 20 percent comparatively negligent. 

Medical Negligence Award puts Elder Care in Focus…Again. And while we’re on the topic, the family of an 88-year old woman who underwent treatment for a Stage IV sacral pressure sore which the family allege was negligently performed and led to their mother’s death, were recently awarded $315,000 in their medical negligence lawsuit.

It’s a very sad case. According to reports on the case, the surgery was done through Vohra Health Services, a wound care company that treated residents at the , where the woman was resident. The woman’s daughter alleged in her lawsuit, that the doctor involved negligently performed a surgical debridement because he didn’t remove all the necrotic tissue from the wound. The daughter also claimed that the surgery and post-operative care from the nurse involved led to her mother’s death. Interestingly, the counsel for the defense also blamed Miami Gardens for the worsening of the woman’s bed sore. So the woman’s family won their case. 

OK. That’s it for this week. See you at the Bar.