Court dismisses some claims in case against Ford

By Tomas Kassahun | Mar 4, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a class action lawsuit against Ford, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has dismissed some of the allegations, while allowing other claims to move forward.

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a class action lawsuit against Ford, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has dismissed some of the allegations, while allowing other claims to move forward.

Consumers have been complaining about the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which consists of climate control as well as applications related to phones and MP3 players.

The plaintiffs said the MFT has an underlying systemic defect in its base software that has caused numerous problems. Some of the problems alleged by the plaintiffs include failure of navigation systems, failure of Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free systems, failure of the climate control system, frequent freezes and lockups and failure of the backup camera including images that froze in place.

According to court documents, certain vehicle features allegedly became inoperable when malfunctions occurred because MFT was the only way to use them.

The plaintiffs said the malfunctions distract drivers and lead to safety risks.

Ford was able to get claims dismissed in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Defensive Driving. Although the CDD alleged a violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the court said the CDD doesn’t have a legal right to file a claim as a non-consumer.

 “CDD is a non-profit corporation that purchased an MFT-equipped vehicle for non-personal use,” the court said.

The judge also dismissed claims of California consumers for violations of the Song-Beverly Act and liability claims filed by Colorado customers.

Because the plaintiffs don’t have evidence to prove whether Ford was a retailer or distributor of used vehicles, the court said it “grants summary judgment in Ford‘s favor on the California class‘s implied warranty claims under the Song-Beverly Act with respect to class members who purchased used vehicles.”

The judge ordered Ford to move forward with breach of warranty claims and claims regarding fraud or unfair competition violations. Ford said its express warranty disclaims the implied warranty of merchantability for vehicles used for business purposes. 

The plaintiffs cited the California Commercial Code, which says the code permits disclaimers of the implied warranty of merchantability as long as they are “conspicuous,”defined as “so written, displayed, or presented that a reasonable person against whom it is to operate ought to have noticed it.”

The court said Ford’s warranty does not appear to meet the requirements for conspicuousness. Therefore, the court denied Ford’s motion for summary of judgment with respect to class members who used their vehicles for business or commercial purposes.

The court also reviewed a class tort claim under Colorado strict product liability law and under Ohio negligence law. Ford argued that the economic loss doctrine bars the plaintiffs‘ strict product liability claim under Colorado law. Ford also said the plaintiffs can’t prove that Ford breached its duty to design a safe vehicle under Ohio negligence law.

The court granted Ford’s motion for summary judgment on the Colorado strict product liability claim but denied the motion for summary on the Ohio negligence claim.

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