Attorneys representing a proposed nationwide class of Escape, Maverick and Lincoln Corsair hybrid owners say that automakers’ defect “fix” failed and causes additional performance issues
Today, attorneys at leading automotive and consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman have filed a new class-action complaint in a lawsuit against Ford and Lincoln regarding an engine defect and failed recall “fix” which has led to dozens of spontaneous, explosive fires in affected vehicles.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that Ford Motor Company and Lincoln, which is owned by Ford, sold at least 125,322 vehicles, including 2020-2023 Ford Hybrid Escapes, 2022-2023 Ford Hybrid Mavericks and 2021-2023 Lincoln Hybrid Corsairs, equipped with engines that were prone to “blowing” and causing spontaneous fires. The complaint also alleges that Ford’s recall “fix” completely failed to address the issue, further damaged vehicles that received the service and poses additional environmental and safety risks.
If you purchased or leased a hybrid 2020-2022 Ford Escape, 2022 Ford Maverick or 2021-2022 Lincoln Corsair, contact Hagens Berman to find out more about this issue and your consumer rights against Ford.
The complaint states that the defect renders affected vehicle engines prone to seizing, which shatters the connecting rods and bearings, propelling them through the engine block itself or the oil pan. This is what is referred to as a “blown engine,” according to the complaint. This leads the engine to stall, and causes highly flammable liquids and vapors to escape, which can lead to sudden and explosive under-hood fires.
One named plaintiff in the amended complaint watched their affected vehicle be totally consumed by flames within 15 minutes after narrowly escaping the vehicle. Another took his vehicle to a dealership after receiving Ford’s recall and repair notice, and asked to have the repair completed. The dealership declined to complete the “fix” and, approximately a month later, the engine compartment in his Ford Escape hybrid exploded into flames.
“Multiple named plaintiffs in this case were lucky to escape their burning vehicles with their lives,” said Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman and the attorney leading the case. “Drivers are still reporting under-hood fires, and Ford itself has admitted that its supposed fix does nothing to mitigate the risk of catastrophic engine failure and fires. Assuming just one percent of vehicles with this engine are impacted by the defect, as Ford claims — and that may be an underestimate — that means there are over 1,250 ticking time bombs out there on the road today. People’s lives are at stake.”
Attorneys Say Ford Refuses to “Do the Right Thing”
In a July 2022 recall, according to the complaint, Ford admitted that engine manufacturing issues in the affected vehicles had caused certain vehicles to catch on fire. In its recall, however, “Ford made no mention” of the risk of this defect causing engine components to be ejected through the block and oil pan, which the complaint says is a “catastrophic” event. The complaint asserts that “Ford has chosen its language to attempt to minimize the seriousness of the issue.”
Instead of doing anything to discover defective engines in the population of affected vehicles, the complaint states, Ford issued a “fix” which consisted of drilling holes in the under-engine shield and removing blinds from the active grille shutter to allow flammable vapors and liquids to spill onto the roadway. According to the complaint, this “fix” left vehicle engines “just as likely to blow up and eject parts and flammable fluids and vapors…as they were before.”
The so-called fix also poses additional safety and environmental risks, the complaint states, such as leaking flammable fluids onto roadways and owners’ garages and driveways. It also leaves owners with active grille shutters that are partially disassembled and no longer work as intended, and engine floor shields that are drilled full of holes and may no longer provide the wear protection and aerodynamics they were designed to achieve.
“To add further insult to injury,” the complaint states, “rather than do the right thing and globally offer every consumer a buy back of their Stall/Fire Risk Vehicle at a fair price…or at least offer to provide a comparable loaner, Ford has done nothing of the sort.”
Hagens Berman initially filed the lawsuit against Ford and Lincoln regarding this defect in August 2022. The court granted Ford’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the automaker had issued a recall and proposed fix for the defect, rendering owners’ complaints moot. But Ford has since admitted that the “fix does not work and the engines remain at risk of blowing up and causing loss of vehicle power and fires.”
Ford issued a separate March 2022 recall on Ford Escapes equipped with this same engine regarding what may be the same manufacturing defect that causes blown engines and engine fires. The March 2022 recall was limited to just 155 cars, and the fix instructed dealership technicians to inspect the engines for a manufacturing defect in the crankshaft and replace the engine if they discovered the defect. Attorneys say Ford could have implemented the same fix for the more than 125,000 vehicles impacted by the stall/fire risk defect but chose not to.
“Ford seems content to let its customers experience blown engines in order to save $60 million in costs to actually inspect, locate and replace the engines before they fail,” said Berman. “The company can’t be allowed to continue putting profit before people.”
The lawsuit brings claims of Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act violations, fraudulent concealment and unjust enrichment, and seeks to secure relief on behalf of owners of affected vehicles.
Hagens Berman has secured settlements valued at $325 billion on behalf of vehicle owners, consumers and others harmed by corporate malfeasance and negligence. The firm has helped secure some of the largest class-action recoveries against automakers in history, including in the case against Volkswagen for its “Dieselgate” emissions scandal, and it served as co-lead counsel in a case against Hyundai and Kia regarding the Theta II GDI engine, which was prone to spontaneous, non-collision fires.
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.