|The Ford Focus was the subject of
this lawsuit. Photo courtesy of
According to court documents, the plaintiffs argued that the initiation lock on the car was faulty resulting car periodically stalling or failing to start. Both named plaintiffs had to pay to fix the ignition lock after the 3 year/36,000 mile warranty expired. Ford argued that the car had a warranty for which both cars worked, afterward parts started too fail, in this case the ignition lock failed nearly 26% of the time before Ford replaced it.
The plaintiffs advanced several causes of action based on two general theories 1) Ford should have disclosed the ignition lock problem 2) The ignition lock problem rendered the Focus unsafe. The court cited Daugherty v. American Honda Motor Co. (Cal. App. 2008) which held auto makers were under no obligation to make their products last forever, even though any eventual defect was probably latently known to the manufacturer. There are two general exceptions: 1) if there is a special relationship between the automaker and customer and 2) if the product is unsafe. Judge Chesney found no special relationship, she found the cars to be under warranty for three years or 36,000 miles and they did work for that period of time. She also found no evidence of a lack of safety (that is an injury beyond the mere cost of repair).
For these reasons she granted Summary Judgment to Ford.
The case is Smith v. Ford Motor Co. No. 06-0497 an the opinion is below the jump.
Here is the opinion:
Smith v. Ford Motor Company