Ford facing suit over selling vehicles prone to unintended acceleration

Article by Anita Panait, on March 29, 2013

Twenty consumers filed a lawsuit against Ford, seeking to have the carmaker to pay for selling vehicles claimed to be vulnerable to unintended acceleration. The lawsuit, filed in a West Virginia federal court, claimed that over 30 Ford models equipped with electronic throttle control system did not have installed reliable safety systems like a brake override system.

Covered in the lawsuit are Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and trucks built from 2002 to 2010. The models include the 2004-2010 Ford F-Series pick-up trucks and the 2005-2009 Lincoln Town Car, as well as 2002-2005 Mercury Cougar.

Adam Levitt, a partner at Grant & Eisenhofer and head of the law firm's consumer practice group, told Reuters in a phone interview that the plaintiffs are trying to be compensated for their economic losses “by having overpaid for cars that contained defects." He said had the plaintiffs been aware of the defects, they either would not have purchase the vehicles or would have paid less for them.

Concerns over unintended acceleration prompted Japanese carmaker Toyota to recall over 10 million cars from 2009 to 2011. Toyota agreed in late 2012 to spend $1.1 billion to settle US class actions over allegations that millions of its vehicles possibly have safety defects.

Ford, on the other hand, said that studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have concluded that driver error is the "predominate" cause of unintended acceleration occurrence.  Ford noted in a statement that NHTSA’s study is far more scientific and trustworthy than those of personal injury lawyers and “their paid experts.

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