New wrongful death lawsuit in a series of cases against Ford for allegedly weakening the roof strength of Ford Super Duty pickup trucks to cut costs, knowing it increased risk of injury or death
A new lawsuit against Ford Motor Company on behalf of the parents of Mikyley Reitz accuses the automaker of negligence and wrongful conduct regarding a roof crush defect in Super Duty pickup trucks that attorneys at Hagens Berman say is responsible for the 25-year-old’s tragic death in a rollover accident in June 2017.
Reitz, whose family is represented by personal injury attorneys at Hagens Berman, was a passionate rodeo barrel racer who loved the outdoors and spending time with family. On June 19, 2017, she was travelling to a friend’s house in San Luis Obispo County when a curve in the roadway caused her to lose control of her 2001 Ford F-350. The pickup rolled, and the cab was crushed, inflicting fatal injuries upon Reitz, the only passenger.
Photos included in the complaint, filed Feb. 7, 2023 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, show astonishing damage Reitz’s truck sustained in the rollover, its cab and roof completely obliterated by the impact.
“This young woman’s parents only recently became aware of the deadly defect that led to this tragic loss of life,” said Jake Berman, the attorney leading the case. “They deserve justice for Mikyley, and Ford needs to take responsibility for the unconscionable, profit-hungry behavior that enabled this disastrous defect.”
Ford Stalled on Life-Threatening Defect
In September 2022, Hagens Berman filed a lawsuit on behalf of owners of Ford Super Duty pickups nationwide, accusing the automaker of selling more than 5 million pickup trucks it was well aware were equipped with a dangerously weak and defective roof.
The lawsuit alleged Ford was made aware of repeated instances of this terrible engineering flaw leading to tragic injuries and fatalities, and neglected to replace the defective roof with a stronger design developed in 2004 until as late as 2017.
The firm’s subsequent lawsuit illuminated an even starker timeline of Ford’s alleged negligence, demonstrating that the automaker had over the course of nearly a decade continually downgraded or entirely removed key structural features of the roof design in order to cut costs. A redesign of the roof reinforcements, for example, downgraded the thickness of the steel by 7.5% – after having already reduced the thickness by 10% in a prior redesign – lowering Ford’s cost by ten cents per vehicle.
“Thicker roof reinforcements could have made the difference for Mikyley that day, or for any of the individuals who have been grievously injured or lost their lives to rollover accidents in these vehicles,” said Berman, "But ten cents was worth the risk, to Ford, and Mikyley’s family paid the price.”
The wrongful death lawsuit also brings claims of strict product liability and negligence.
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving actual 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.