Ford is one of the biggest automakers in the United States. It boasts mass production lines of vehicles ranging from cars to trucks and SUVs. The company has made some impressive race cars as well as heavy-duty commercial vehicles for agriculture and other industries. Although it’s a popular brand, Ford has had its share of legal troubles. The company has been sued in private and class-action lawsuits and has sustained its share of government agency fines. Some of the lawsuits involved personal injury due to defective equipment, while others were job-related and filed by Ford workers. ford is no different than any other large automaker or corporation. Lawsuits are common in larger companies. Here are the ten biggest lawsuits in company history to give you an idea of its less than perfect track record of service.
10. 2005 Lawsuit against Ford for discrimination in loan rates Settlement: $2 million
A lawsuit was filed against Form Motor Credit, which is a division of the Ford Motor Company, alleging discrimination against minorities in setting interest rates for loan agreements. Dealers were investigated for charging higher interest rates on loan agreements through Primus Automotive Financial Services, a unit under Ford. A year later, Ford entered into a settlement agreement for $2 million without admitting to any wrongdoing in the case. The settlement was to resolve the case and avoid further litigation in 2005. Ford probably saved millions by settling early.
9. Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company Settlement: $127.8 million reduced to $3.5 million
The Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company lawsuit was filed as a personal injury tort case in Orange County, California. The lawsuit was filed in 1978 by attorneys for the plaintiff involving the Ford Pinto automobile’s safety design. Lily gray was driving a 1972 Ford Pinto when it was rear-ended. The crash resulted in the faulty gas tank design causing the vehicle to explode, killing the driver. The jury weighed the evidence presented by both sides and awarded $127.8 million in damages to the plaintiffs. An appellate court heard the case in 1981 and the judge reduced the punitive damages to $3.5 million. The court upheld the compensation of $2,841,000 to Grimshaw and $665,000 to the Gray family.
8. 1998 Ford fined for falsifying test results Settlement: $7 million
Corp Research confirms that the Ford Motor Company failed to comply with increased federal standards for fuel economy in vehicles produced. As government requirements changed, ford compiled the necessary documentation on emission testing for submission to the federal government. The investigation commenced into the vehicle conditions for the models produced from 1973 to 1991. Investigators discovered that Ford had falsified test results to appear that its vehicles complied with emissions standards. In 1991 over 60,000 ford brand vans and pickup trucks exceeded federal emissions standards and were recalled. The same thing happened in 1992, with 1.2 million of the vehicles recalled for the same violations. The company resisted federal mandates for lower emissions and skated by for two decades before evidence of falsified records was discovered. The company got off with a slap on the wrist with a mere $7 million fine. It’s less of a problem these days with environmental government incentives for compliant manufacturers, and now Ford has finally jumped on the bandwagon, but they learned an expensive lesson.
7. Widows of mechanics sue Ford for asbestos damages Settlement: $14 million
Asbestos.com reports that Ford was sued by the widows of Keith K. Grewe Sr. and Nollie P. Wood Sr. for their husbands’ deaths linked to their work with asbestos-lined brakes during their careers as mechanics from 1957 through 1992. Grewe died from mesothelioma at the age of 56. Wood died from the same illness after working with ford brakes and clutches, passing away in 1990. The lawsuit alleged that Ford was responsible for the men’s illnesses and death by not protecting them from exposure to the deadly materials. The Baltimore circuit court held a jury trial which found Ford liable for the damages, ordering them to pay sums of $8 million to Grewe’s widow and $6.3 million to Wood’s widow. The landmark case was decided by a jury in 1996 and was the first to hold the company liable for asbestos-related illness and death from working with auto brakes.
6. Ford Settles Class Action re: MyFord Touch Settlement amount: $17.5 million
Motor Biscuit reports that a lawsuit was filed against Ford for allegations that it misrepresented its MyFord Touch. and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems. Yers of owner complaints finally culminated in a class-action lawsuit filed against them. Ford settled the lawsuit out of court in a mutually approved agreement to provide $17 million to the affected parties to keep the lawsuit from entering further litigation. Ford will compensate drivers and owners for their complaints. The suit was settled in 2019.
5. 1999 Lawsuit against Ford for Discrimination Settlement: $17.5 million
A lawsuit was filed against Ford for allegations of sexual harassment and racial harassment by female employees of two of the corporation’s plants. Complaints were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to resolve the charges before going to litigation. Ford agreed to a settlement with the EEOC for $17.5 million to resolve the case, allotting $7.5 million in damages for the women. An additional $10 million would be spent on training for employees within the nation to prevent harassment and discrimination in the future. The settlement saved ford the expense of litigation through the court system, which could drag on for several years. Ford has settled many cases before they reach the court system, or in a deal that stops litigation and prevents them from going before a jury in a trial setting. Often, years of legal battle can increase the final amounts of settlements by millions of dollars after court costs and attorney fees. In many cases, Ford settles cases without admitting to wrongdoing, while other times, they do. Keeping matters from going before a judge can also lessen fines and penalties imposed as addendums to personal injury or loss claims by the plaintiffs.
4. Ford Settles out of court in Rollover claims Settlement: $22 million
Willis Law Firm reports that a claim was filed against the Ford Motor Company for a rollover accident involving two teenage girls who died when the Ford Explorer they rode in had a rollover. The high center of gravity for the Explorer has been an ongoing safety issue. The tragedy occurred in Chicago on an expressway when the girls were thrown from the vehicle. Two other teenagers were injured in the accident. Tires were not to blame for the accident. Ford settled with the two families involved in an out-of-court agreement for $22 million, which prevented further litigation in the matter. Ford Motors has settled multiple lawsuits over the past 20 years, involving SUVs involved in rollover accidents. the estimated amount that the automaker has spent so far in such settlements is around $1 billion.
3. Ford Focus and Fiesta Powershift Transmission Settlement re: Vargas, et al. v. Ford Motor Company Settlement amount: Over $47.4 million
A class-action lawsuit was filed against Ford for faulty powershift transmissions in Focus and Fiesta models produced by the companies, according to Capstone Law. The initial settlement guaranteed a $30 million minimum guarantee on cash payments to members of the lawsuit who qualified for reimbursement or a buyback of the vehicle. The suit settled in December of 2019 with the lowest cash payments of $20 for those who were denied repairs, but eligible for buy-back, and those who had repairs done, in the amount of labor and parts costs. The claims filed by members have far exceeded the $30 million and have reached more than $47.4 million for the buyback claims. Three types of cash payments were made available to members of the lawsuit. Those eligible may receive payment for Service Visits to ford dealers for transmission hardware repair. The third visit qualifies recipients for $200, $275 for the fourth visit, and up to $2,325 if eight visits were made. the lawsuit detailed numerous types of service calls that would qualify for reimbursement including a Software Flash with updates of reimbursements up to $600. Members of the class-action lawsuit main are eligible to submit claims for up to seven years or 100,000 miles of delivery to the first customer if they continue to have malfunctions with their transmissions for vehicles in the identified class. This is an ongoing settlement that could increase to far above its current amount. It’s not final until the last owner of the affected Ford Focus and Fiestas with these powershift transmissions has been satisfied. It’s been one of the most expensive for Ford because of faulty transmissions.
2. Mauro V. Ford Motor Company Settlement: $73 million
GB Law reports that the Ford Motor Company was sued in a Sacramento District Court involving a rollover crash involving a Ford E350 passenger van. The van was rated for 15 passengers. Investigation into the allegations of Ford’s failure to inform owners of the vans about defective Goodyear tires in need of replacement made them liable for injuries sustained when the drivers lost control due to tread separation. it was discovered that Ford knew about the faulty tires from Goodyear, given to them from the supplier. They kept the information to themselves. When the Ford E350 van rolled over, the victims sustained damages in the crash, which could have been avoided. Tony Mauro was killed in the incident. the driver Bill Brownell was killed along with passenger Alex Bessonov sustaining injuries. A Sacramento jury held Ford responsible due to their failure to inform the owners of the danger. the jury awarded $50 million for punitive damages and $23 million in compensatory damages to crash victims in the case.
1. 2001 Ford Ignition Lawsuit Up to $2.7 billion
The LA Times reports that a lawsuit was filed against the Ford Motor Company for allegations that defective parts caused vehicles to stall. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the automaker seeking reimbursements of $160 per member of the suit. Ford representatives argued that the number of parts that failed was inflated. It was an effort to keep the initial estimates of $2.7 for settlement lower to around $1 billion. The suit continued for six years of bitter litigation. Judge Michael Ballachey of the Alameda County Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. He determined the defect in the vehicles had been concealed by Ford. The settlement involves 19 Ford models sold between 1983 to 1995. To qualify for their share of the settlement, plaintiffs who had the part replaced may qualify for parts and labor costs between $160 to $257. Reimbursement depended on when and where the repairs were made. The amount of the lawsuit depends on how many plaintiffs qualify for a settlement. Ford is also required to spend $5 million on independent research for vehicle safety and $29 million in legal fees. It was a landmark case that involved evidence supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s hoped that setting the precedence with Ford will discourage other automakers from taking this approach to dealing with emissions standards.
The Ford Corporation, like most other large auto manufacturers, has had its share of lawsuits and problems with vehicle defects. The complaints against Ford have cost them billions through the years, but they’re still a brand many people trust to provide reliable vehicles for private and commercial use. It pays to investigate a model before you buy. That goes for any car brand. Find out what others have to say about the performance and any known issues. It’s better to do your research to avoid getting involved in an accident through no fault of your own.