Hagens Berman: Owners of Ford Super Duty Trucks Sue Automaker for Defect Causing Roof Crush in 5.2 Million Pickups

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Owners of Ford Super Duty pickup trucks today filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker accusing it of knowingly selling more than 5 million of its popular pickups with a dangerously weak and defective roof, leading to collapse and grave injuries during rollover accidents, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and states that Ford’s own internal investigations and documents reveal that it knew about the defectively fragile roof structure, and employed various tactics to conceal its existence while settling lawsuits involving such accidents with secrecy clauses for more than a decade. In 2017, Ford finally released a redesign of the weak roof in its Super Duty trucks, failing to address the dangerously weak design of past models, the lawsuit says.

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Ford has been subject to “a host of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits,” the class action states.

“The public has recently been made aware that Ford has fought off scores of consumer complaints, lawsuits and incidents of this very defect that it has failed to address,” said Steve Berman, Hagens Berman co-founder and managing partner. “We intend to hold Ford accountable for this horrendously dangerous defect once and for all.”

If you own or lease a 1999 – 2016 Ford Super Duty pickup truck, contact Hagens Berman to find out more about this issue and your consumer rights against Ford.

“Ford’s tactics to conceal this defect through denial and secret settlements have finally failed, and we don’t want to see another injury or death due to its negligence and coverup,” Berman added.

Ford’s Smoking Gun

Existing lawsuits and legal documents “establish a disturbing timeline” that Ford not only knew about lack of safety of its Super Duty roofs, but purposefully downgraded roof strength to save manufacturing costs and enhance profits, according to the class action.

According to the lawsuit, Ford’s defect in the design of Super Duty roofs causes them to be crushed and exposes Super Duty owners and passengers to “unreasonable risk of injury and death if their vehicle is involved in a rollover accident.” Despite having knowledge of the defect, Ford has failed to fix it over the course of 17 iterations of the Super Duty trucks and has also continued to market affected trucks as safe and reliable.

“The dangerous and deadly defect in the Roof-Crush Defect Vehicles gained national attention on August 19, 2022, when a jury in Georgia awarded $1.7 billion in punitive damages to the family of Melvin and Voncile Hill, who were killed when the roof of their 2002 F-250 Super-Duty collapsed in a rollover accident,” the lawsuit states. “The plaintiffs’ attorneys pointed to evidence they said showed the roof on these trucks failed in the company’s own internal testing and that Ford engineers developed a stronger roof for its Super Duty pickups in 2004 but that roof wasn’t used in trucks sold to customers until the 2017 model year, according to court documents.”

The pretrial order in the Hill case states that Ford has identified 162 lawsuits and 83 similar incidents of the roof crush involving the 1999-2016 Super Duty trucks.

“Here you have an instance in which Ford was repeatedly made aware of the defect at hand through accounts of injury and wrongful death of its own customers,” Berman said. “And Ford actually chose to further downgrade the safety and structure of its truck cab roofs, all for profit.”

In cited lawsuits, Ford admitted it did not perform a physical roof strength test prior to selling its 2000 F-250 Super Duty, for example. “Litigation testing shows that not only did the F-250 roof fail to meet Ford’s 10,500 pound roof strength design target, it also shows that the roof strength of its F-250 Super Duty truck is weaker that [sic] its smaller and lighter pickup trucks—the F-150 and Ranger,” the lawsuit quotes.

Meanwhile, as Ford continued to settle lawsuit after lawsuit regarding the roof collapse defect affecting millions of Super Duty trucks, it offered no reimbursement to owners and lessees of the affected vehicles, failing to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses, loss of use or loss of value. Owners and lessees of affected pickups have been left with hazardous vehicles with no recourse for extended periods of time, according to attorneys.

“It’s no secret that if they’d known how easily the roofs of the Super Duty pickups collapse in a rollover, most owners would have simply opted for another vehicle altogether,” Berman said. “Ford’s omissions are serious, and had it told the truth, it would not have sold as many of these Super Duty trucks.”

The lawsuit seeks repayment to affected owners and lessees for damages incurred from the defect, including loss of vehicle value and out-of-pocket costs. The lawsuit accuses Ford of fraudulent concealment, warranty violations, unjust enrichment and breaking consumer-rights laws.

Hagens Berman has brought dozens of class-action lawsuits against automakers, including additional class-action lawsuits filed against Ford in 2022 for spontaneous fires in its luxury SUVs, a defect causing overheating and smoke remedied only by Ford’s drilling holes in the engine shield of affected models, and a shutdown defect affecting its Mustang Mach-E vehicles. Hagens Berman has helped successfully secure the largest automotive settlements in history.

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