Plaintiffs contend that Ford vehicles equipped with an electronic throttle control system are vulnerable to sudden unintended acceleration events, and that Ford has admitted that some of its vehicles are in fact prone to such acceleration. Their complaint alleges that the Ford vehicles share a common design defect in lacking adequate fail-safe features, including a reliable brake-over-accelerator system (also referred to as a "brake override system" (BOA)). Such a system is designed to allow a driver to overcome unintended throttle opening by returning the throttle to idle when certain conditions are met, allowing a driver to mitigate unintended acceleration by depressing the brake.
The lawsuit contends that Ford owners have experienced unacceptable rates of sudden unintended acceleration, citing a report issued in October 2011 by the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General. Plaintiffs allege that Ford should have prevented the SUA incidents by including the brake-over-accelerator system or other fail-safe systems in its vehicles. They maintain that, while Ford began installing a BOA system on some of its North American cars beginning in 2010, the company has failed to remedy, or even warn drivers about the lack of a brake-over-accelerator system on its earlier vehicles.
The cars named in the complaint are:
Ford vehicles: 2005-2007 500; 2005-2009 Crown Victoria; 2005-2010 Econoline; 2007 2010 Edge; 2009-2010 Escape; 2005-2010 Escape HEV; 2005-2010 Expedition; 2004-2010 Explorer; 2007-2010 Explorer Sport Trac; 2004-2010 F-Series; 2009-2010 Flex; 2008-2010 Focus; 2005-2007 Freestyle; 2006-2010 Fusion; 2005-2010 Mustang; 2008-2010 Taurus; 2008-2009 Taurus X; 2002-2005 Thunderbird; and 2010 Transit Connect.
Lincoln vehicles: 2003-2006 LS; 2006-2008 Mark LT; 2009-2010 MKS; 2010 MKT; 2007-2010 MKX; 2006-2010 MKZ; 2005-2009 Town Car; and 2006-2010 Zephyr.
Mercury vehicles: 2002-2005 Cougar (XR7); 2005-2009 Grand Marquis; 2009-2010 Mariner; 2005-2010 Mariner HEV; 2006-2010 Milan; 2005-2007 Montego; 2004-2010 Mountaineer; and 2008-2010 Sable.
The action was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in Huntington by leading securities litigation and consumer class action law firm of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., and other firms.
Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of all other class members, seek compensatory damages for the lost value of their cars, the difference between what they originally paid for their cars versus the actual value of their defective vehicles. Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relief, requesting that Ford fix the problem.
The case is styled as: Belville, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, Case No. 2:13-cv-11111 (U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia, Huntington). Co-counsel to plaintiffs are the law firms of: Spilman, Thomas & Battle, PLLC; The Dicello Law Firm; Bucci Bailey & Javins L.C.; Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny, P.C.; Murray and Murray Co., L.P.A.; Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley PA; Siprut P.C.; Bremer, Whyte, Brown & O'Meara LLP; The Miller Law Firm, P.C.; and Davis, Bethune & Jones, LLC.