Hicks Thomas LLP Obtains Class Certification for Ford Owners in California

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.