Plaintiffs Fight Back Against Ford’s Attempts to Dismiss F-150 Class Suit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On May 8, 2017, plaintiffs in the Ford F-150 punitive class action rallied to fight against defendant Ford Motor Co.’s bid to dismiss the suit, which was originally filed in March 2017 in the Northern District of New York.

In the complaint, named plaintiff, Brandon Kommer claimed that the company’s F-150 pickup trucks contain serious material defects that the defendant automaker was aware of and concealed from consumers. Kommer argued that consumers purchased the pickup trucks based on the assurances of the vehicle’s durability made by Ford in commercials and ad campaigns that promoted the vehicle as being built “Ford Tough” and having “rock-solid durability.”

 However, instead of getting a vehicle with elevated resilience, plaintiffs in the suit claim that the vehicles contain several defects including doors that won’t latch in cold temperatures and electronic locks that won’t open, forcing drivers to unlock doors with the external keypad. Plaintiffs claim that Ford was made aware of these problems with the vehicles through online message forums and yet did nothing to rectify the situation. The class is seeking to represent all New York-based owners and lessees of 2015 to 2017 model Ford F-150 pickup trucks.

Conversely, Ford has been fighting to get the suit dismissed, arguing that Kommer’s complaint is both logically flawed and contrary to established law. Specifically the defendant has focused on the plaintiffs’ reliance on the company’s “Ford Tough”’ advertising campaign, which defendant says does not equal a warranty that the F-150 vehicles will never malfunction. Instead the defendant automaker maintains that its ad campaign amounts to mere “puffery.” Ford sites to a 2007 Second Circuit ruling, which states “such statements in the context of product advertising amount to ‘puffery’ and because they include broad and vague generalizations about a product, rather than any specific guarantees about a product’s particular characteristics, they cannot form the basis of a claim.” (See. Time Warner Cable Inc. v. DirectTV Inc.).

The case is: Kommer v. Ford Motor Company, Case No.: 1:17-cv-00296 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

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