Settlement Reached in Ford Focus & Fiesta Class Action

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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After almost four years of contentious litigation, a proposed settlement agreement has been reached in the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus class-action lawsuit. In the proposed settlement submitted to federal court in California on March 24, 2017, Ford agreed to “substantial cash payouts” among other concessions to the 1.5 million owners of 2011-2016 Fiesta models and 2012-2016 Focus models. Plaintiffs claim that the vehicles contain a malfunctioning transmission that causes the cars to slip, buck, kick or jerk when drivers attempt to accelerate the vehicles. As a result of these issues, class members claim that they were forced to expend substantial time, energy and money to fix the problems. Some plaintiffs purportedly had to wait months for repairs to be completed.

 The proposed settlement, which was filed unopposed, includes a variety of remedies including cash payments of $200 for plaintiffs whose vehicles were taken in for repairs three times. Each repair visit beyond the third will receive additional payment, with the total payment not to exceed $2,325 per plaintiff. Ford is alternatively offering the option to receive a discount on the purchase of a new Ford vehicle. The discount will be similar to the cash payments in it is redeemable after the third repair visit takes place. The discounted amount will be double the cash payout, with a total sum of $4650 available to a single plaintiff. Software issues will likewise be compensated by a cash payment of $50 after the third repair visit, adding $50 per additional visit to be capped at $600.

Ford is also providing a private arbitration program whereby class members can opt to have the company repurchase or replace defective vehicles. Eligible vehicles will include any vehicle that has endured at least four failed repairs to the transmission within the first five years or 60,000 miles. The preliminary settlement also includes a request from plaintiffs to appoint 18 class representatives who will receive between $1,000 and $10,000 in compensation. Ford has agreed to pay up to $8.9 million in attorney fees and costs.

The case is: Omar Vargas, et al., v. Ford Motor Co., Case No.: 2:12-cv-08388, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

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