A proposed class of vehicle owners was granted class certification in a
lawsuit against Ford Motor Company. A California federal judge granted
the cert to Ford Focus car owners who claimed a suspension defect in some
models led to dangerous tire wear. The decision came after the Ninth Circuit
Court overturned a prior decision in favor of Ford.
The judge said the class met all qualifiers for certification and will
include any U.S. resident who bought or leased a Ford Focus manufactured
between 2005 and 2011. Hicks Thomas LLP and Carney Bates & Pulliam
PLLC were approved as class counsel.
“The court finds no reason to doubt that plaintiff’s counsel
are qualified to conduct this litigation and will vigorously prosecute
the action on behalf of class members,” the judge said.
The lawsuit was launched by five Ford Focus owners in November 2011. One
of these drivers, Margie Daniel, claimed the rear suspension of some vehicles
had an alignment defect. The defect allegedly caused the tires to wear
down irregularly, which in turn caused the cars to slide in snowy, wet,
or inclement weather.
In 2013, a judge granted a summary motion in favor of the motor vehicle
company under the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Legal Remedies
Act. The motion was appealed in the Ninth Circuit by Focus owners.
John B. Thomas of Hicks Thomas LLP told Law360 the path to class certification
was a “long haul.” Additionally, he said that Ford adjusted
the suspension in 2011, so owners of previous models should have access
to the solution as well. “We’re hopeful now that the owners
of Ford Focuses can get the fix they need in their vehicles,” Thomas said.
John B. Thomas, Eric Grant, and Kelsey McDowell of Hicks Thomas LLP and
Allen Carney of Carney Bates & Pulliam PLLC are representing the vehicle owners.