Appeals court: Ford committed fraud by selling defective Super Duty trucks
Originally Posted by Detroit Free PressThe owner of a 2006 Ford F-350 argued for years that Ford Motor Co. sold Super Duty trucks with defective 6.0L diesel engines to thousands of unsuspecting buyers and then concealed the known problems, saddling customers with repair bills and exposing them to engine failure.
Now an appeals court has agreed with Charles Brian Margeson, 41, of Torrance, California.
He is the first Super Duty truck owner with a 6.0L diesel engine to have a fraud claim against Ford affirmed on appeal. The California Court of Appeal late last month upheld a lower court's ruling in Margeson's favor. Five other jury awards against Ford in similar cases are pending appeals.
"I bought my truck new. It must've broken down a couple dozen times and the turbo even blew up," Margeson told the Free Press. "I started carrying spare hoses with me and leather gloves because everything was super hot and I had to repair it myself on the side of the freeways. We would lose power. I mentioned it to Ford a couple times, saying, 'Hey, this is a lemon.' They just laughed it off. I just wanted a truck that worked."
He decided to opt out of a class action case involving unhappy Super Duty owners who eventually settled in 2013.
On his own, Margeson filed a lawsuit in June 2014. He was awarded a total of $940,177.74 in June 2017, but the appeals court determined expert testimony about punitive damages was improper and tossed out that piece of his award — about $726,000. But a new jury, in a trial not yet scheduled, will determine how much Ford must pay him in punitive damages, which by definition is designed to punish the defendant.
By February 2007, warranty repair costs on the engine exceeded $400 million, including more than $227 million to fix fuel injectors and more than $182 million on turbochargers, which was the largest repair rate ever seen for any Ford engine.
The Super Duty class action settlement was a huge win for Ford, especially in light of the recent court ruling, said Fitzpatrick, author of "The Conservative Case for Class Actions."
"That opens up the question, could every single class member have gotten the price of their car back?" he said. "If they had to pay every class member the price of their car back, it would be like the Volkswagen situation and Volkswagen paid billions of dollars. They ended up paying every class member the price of their car — 500,000 people."
Bob Fascetti, who oversaw diesel engine products as director of V-engine and diesel engineering for Ford North America, said in a Feb. 28, 2007, affidavit: "Ford has experienced unprecedented repair rates with the 6.0L engines. The 6.0L has had the largest R/1000 (repairs per thousand) rate ever experienced by Ford for an engine in widespread production. In fact, the 6.0L, which represents only 10% of Ford's total engine volume, accounts for approximately 80% of all of Ford's warranty spending on engines. Additionally, warranty spending on the 6.0L accounts for approximately 25% of Ford's overall warranty spending."