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Ford Victorious In Product Liability Multidistrict Litigation

Dykema Wins Dismissal of MDL Claims Against Ford in Speed Control Switch Litigation

October 12, 2009

DETROITDykema’s elite Automotive Industry Team has successfully achieved the dismissal of all class action claims and a significant portion of the non-class action claims against Ford Motor Company in multidistrict litigation, MDL-1718, arising out of allegations of defective speed control deactivation switches. Certain plaintiffs asserted that the alleged defect and Ford’s voluntary recall rendered the speed control system non-functioning, causing a period of loss of use of the cruise control function, while other plaintiffs alleged that the defective speed control deactivation switches caused vehicle fires.

"We are very pleased that the court considered all of the law and arguments presented by Dykema at issue in this case and dismissed all of the class action claims filed against Ford," said Andrew McGuinness, a member of Dykema’s Automotive Industry Team in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Over 100 federal cases from around the country have been transferred to MDL-1718. Plaintiffs filed their Fourth Amended Master Complaint (FMAC) asserting claims relating to a 2005 voluntary recall initiated by Ford Motor Company in cooperation with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Over 10 million Ford vehicles equipped with the subject speed control deactivation switch system have been recalled.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in favor of Ford, dismissing all of the class claims filed by the plaintiffs. Ford was also able to obtain favorable rulings on contested issues of state law involving California, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina and Mississippi.

Led by McGuinness, Dykema's Automotive Industry and Class Action teams defended this case, including J. Kevin Snyder (a Member in the Los Angeles office), and Jeffrey R. Miller (an associate in the Detroit office).

For more information, please visit Dykema’s class action defense and automotive litigation practices.