Attorneys say the defect is still a “nightmare situation” for owners left with fire hazards and no substitute vehicle or compensation from Ford
Attorneys at Hagens Berman have filed an amended class-action lawsuit against Ford regarding a defect that causes spontaneous underhood fires in at least 66,000 of its Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles when parked or running. The law firm represents a proposed class of owners of affected vehicles, including one owner who experienced a harrowing vehicle fire only months after purchase of his Expedition and shared video footage of the fire nearly reaching his home.
If you own a 2021 Ford Expedition or Lincoln Navigator, you may be affected by this dangerous defect and may be entitled to compensation. Contact Hagens Berman to find out more about this issue and your consumer rights against Ford.
The Amended Lawsuit
The updated filing, made July 11, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan adds the account of additional plaintiffs, and addresses Ford’s expanded recall that has come months after the automaker initially publicized the defect. Ford also recently announced what it called a “fix” for the issue that owners will have to wait months to receive, at best.
“While it is positive news that Ford believes it has found its manufacturing defect that is behind at least 21 dangerous spontaneous fires in its luxury vehicles, at the same time, Ford has now admitted that this defect affects at least 66,000 vehicles still covered under warranty,” said Steve Berman, Hagens Berman co-founder and managing partner. “Ford claims to have designed a fix, yet admits it only has parts for a small subset of the affected vehicles, and the timeline Ford presents is at best several months in the future for most vehicles to be repaired.”
“To add insult to potential injury, Ford has also failed to provide any substitute vehicles or compensation for those who choose not to assume the risk of fire to continue using their vehicle,” Berman added.
According to Ford, the spontaneous vehicle fires are caused by a manufacturing defect in a battery junction box. Until owners can receive a fix for the defect, Ford has advised them to park affected vehicles away from structures or other vehicles, which many affected owners are not able to do.
“The implication of Ford’s response is outrageous, essentially telling its own customers, ‘Yes, your car may catch fire in the middle of the night or while you’re away, so park it somewhere that will be a good place to have it engulfed in flames.’ How far from one’s home is a ‘safe’ distance to have a vehicle fire, exactly?” Berman said.
A “Nightmare Situation”
The amended lawsuit details one client’s spontaneous fire that occurred in front of his home, while he was away. The plaintiff’s 2021 Ford Expedition XLT caught fire while parked adjacent to his home, igniting the vehicle and a nearby empty recycling bin and wood compost. The blaze was stopped when a passerby called the local fire department, which extinguished the fire before it reached the client’s home. The complaint contains photos showing just how close the fire was to reaching the house.
In this client’s experience, he never received a recall notice or warning from Ford, apparently because Ford has yet to expand the safety recall regarding the spontaneous fire defect to include 2021 models, like his, that were built in December 2021.
“Our client’s experience shows just how close folks with these vehicles can come to losing it all due to Ford’s admitted manufacturing defect,” Berman said. “In this case, our client’s vehicle – which visibly ignited in the exact spot where Ford has admitted the manufacturing defect – has not been recalled by Ford, suggesting that in addition to its response, Ford’s investigation of this defect appears inadequate.”
According to Ford, the rate of fires caused by the defect is statistically significant, meaning it presents a material risk to owners of 2021 Expeditions and Navigators. The risked is enhanced by Ford’s marketing of these large SUVs as perfect for families, such that car occupants may be strapped into child car seats, making it difficult to exit quickly, should a fire occur.
“While they wait for Ford to actually install a fix, affected owners are stuck with expensive vehicles that they can only use if they assume a risk of fire, and can’t park at their homes or work or near anything flammable,” Berman added. “For any Ford and Lincoln owners – especially those with young children in car seats – they are still trapped in a nightmare situation.”
Attorneys estimate that purchase prices for the affected vehicles well-exceed $50,000 and/or require high monthly loan, lease and insurance payments. The lawsuit seeks compensation for owners’ losses and loss of vehicle value due to the defect.
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.