Ford Can’t escape Defective Fuel Tank lawSuit Claims

A New Jersey federal judge on last Tuesday refused to let Ford Motor Co. completely escape a putative class action over allegedly defective fuel tanks in F-Series lorries and E-Series vans, finding that express warranty and good faith and fair dealing claims can move forward.

U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise said that named plaintiffs Galo Coba and his company Coba Landscaping and Construction Inc. present persuasive evidence that Ford knew it would be unable to fix the lining of fuel tank, which allegedly deteriorates and allows fuel tank linings on E- and F-series lorry models made between 1999 and 2008 to “separate and flake off.”

This would clog fuel systems with debris and rust, causing a sudden loss of engine power, and potentially causing vehicles to buck or kick or suddenly stall.

The lawsuit alleges Ford was selling lorries with defective fuel tank linings over a 10-year period, and hiding the problem from consumers even as it warned dealers.

Ford in 2007 issued a “secret” technical service bulletin to dealers advising them of the problem, but neither recalled the affected lorries nor offered to repair them for free, the complaint said.

“Hundreds, if not thousands,” of drivers have experienced the defect, it added.

The F-series pickup is the best-selling U.S. car or lorry, while the E-Series is a lorry-based full-size van.

The class-action complaint alleges fraud, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment, among other charges. It seeks compensatory, punitive and triple damages, and other remedies.