Ford Steering Defects|Class Action Survives

     SAN JOSE (CN) – A federal judge dismissed some class claims accusing Ford of concealing defective steering systems in the Focus and Fusion models, but let stand claims of fraudulent concealment.
     U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday let survive several claims that Ford concealed a defective electronically assisted steering systems in 2010 through 2014 Ford Fusions and 2012 through 2014 Ford Focuses.
     Lead plaintiff William Philips claims the steering system is “prone to sudden and premature failure,” causing drivers to “experience significantly increased steering effort and an increased risk of losing control of their vehicles'” as they resort to manual steering.
     The class claims it would not have bought the cars had Ford divulged the problems, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated in the Ford Explorer after receiving complaints from consumers.
     The class claims Ford officials circulated internal emails that indicate they were aware of steering problems in the Focus and Fusion, but did not disclose it to consumers and took no corrective action to fix it.
     An NHTSA investigation revealed 15 accidents involving the steering system in the Ford Explorer, with one minor injury, and it received hundreds of similar complaints regarding other models, the plaintiffs claim.
     They sued Ford in June 2014, alleging concealment, unfair competition and consumer law violations.
     Ford sought dismissal, claiming the class had waived or abandoned some claims, that California’s statute of limitations had expired, that fraud-based claims were not supported, and asked the court to strike references to nationwide claims.
     Koh agreed that the class waived warranty claims and did not replead them.
     But she disagreed with Ford’s claim that plaintiffs did not show substantial similarities between the steering system in their cars and those in other Ford models, such as the Explorer.
     Koh also disagreed with Ford’s argument that plaintiffs did not sufficiently support fraud claims and that the statute of limitations had expired. She said the class did not have a duty to investigate steering problems until they manifested themselves, and had no reason to suspect wrongdoing before then.
     Koh granted Ford’s motion to dismiss with prejudice claims for injunctive relief arising from alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act, but refused to dismiss claims for fraudulent concealment, Consumer Legal Remedies Act damages, and striking of nationwide claims.
     Ford officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

%d bloggers like this: