Updated Lawsuit Against Ford Shows Pattern of Reducing Roof Strength in Super Duty Trucks and Ford’s Knowledge of Risk of Grave Injury in Rollover Accidents
DETROIT – An updated class-action lawsuit filed by owners of Ford Super Duty pickup trucks depicts what attorneys at Hagens Berman say is the result of Ford having “repeatedly chosen to degrade the structural capacity and therefore safety of its trucks” for decades. The lawsuit shows photos of crushed roofs following rollover accidents, affecting 5.2 million pickups.
The amended class-action complaint filed Sept. 27, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan illustrates a timeline of repeatedly downgraded steel components and removal of key structures in Ford’s Super Duty pickup trucks. So far, Ford has identified 162 lawsuits and 83 similar incidents of the roof crush involving the 1999-2016 Super Duty trucks.
The dangerously weak roof design can lead to collapse and grave injuries during rollover accidents, according to attorneys, and Ford’s own cost-saving measures have led to the danger of the affected Super Duty trucks. 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.
A Long History of Safety Slights
“When the public looks at Ford’s history of subtle, yet impactful and plentiful design choices over the decades it has made these trucks, a single storyline is clear: Ford has repeatedly chosen to degrade the structural capacity and therefore safety of its trucks, again and again, for sake of cost savings,” said Steve Berman, Hagens Berman co-founder and managing partner. “A read of Ford’s choices is a redundant tale of deletions and downgage of steel, reducing the thickness of essential components of the truck cab.”
The complaint outlines Ford’s deletion of a windshield outer, deletion of the front header outer, downgage of the steel in the windshield header inner as well as the roof bows, rear door vertical beams and the A-Pillar. Additionally, Ford downgraded the steel in another structural pillar from Boron steel (which is multiple times stronger than normal steel) to mild steel. The lawsuit states that Ford has no test results to show what affect the downgages and changes in roof and door structure had on roof crush strength.
“Ford did not even attempt to ascertain how much weaker its hunger for profits made the roof structures of the Roof-Crush Risk Vehicles,” the suit states. “Ford’s rejection of its own tests and efforts to increase profits, as outlined above by purposefully degrading the strength of the roof both pre- and post-production of the first Roof-Crush Risk Vehicles, squarely evidences Ford’s knowledge that the Roof-Crush Risk Vehicles had an unsafe and dangerous design from before the sale of the first 1999 model year SuperDuty.”
To worsen the retelling of Ford’s choices, as third-party tests were conducted on the cab roof crush strength of its pickups for purposes of litigation, the results showed that the roof crushed at a weight 800 pounds lower than Ford indicated it would in its own published results, according to the complaint.
In August 2022, a Georgia jury 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 SuperDuty collapsed in a rollover accident. Attorneys for the family 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.
“Ford has clearly failed its customers and has failed the public in living up to the basic level of responsibility that a company must adhere to when selling products to the public,” Berman said.
The lawsuit seeks repayment to affected owners and lessees for damages, 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.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.