Jeffrey Lowe of St. Louis filed six class action suits in U.S. District Court Jan. 29, against Ford Motor Co. claiming certain Ford vehicles are defective and unsafe.
Lowe claims claims the Ford vehicles in question are defective and unsafe because;
Lowe claims as dendrites grow and accumulate their electrical resistance drops and their current carrying capacity increases causing temperatures to raise high enough to produce an open flame.
He claims this creates a significant fire risk not only to the Ford vehicles, but also the Ford houses and garages in which the vehicles are parked.
"Ford knew there were problems with the design, manufacture, and placement of the SCD Switch used in the Ford vehicles nevertheless, Ford used the same or similar design in vehicles that are the subject of this lawsuit," the complaints state.
Ford recently reported its worst year in the company's history, having lost $12.7 billion in 2006.
Lowe claims that at least 65 fires reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by June 22, 2005, were confirmed to have been caused by the failure of the SCD Switch.
He claims in 1999, Ford voluntarily recalled 250,000 vehicles to replace the switch with a nearly identical switch without adding a fuse to correct the problem.
According to the complaints, Ford recalled Crown Victoria's, Lincoln Town Cars and Mercury Grand Marquises manufactured from 1992-93.
Lowe claims that on Jan. 27, 2005, Ford then recalled 740,451 vehicles to add a fuse to the circuit and instructed owners to take their vehicles to a Ford dealer so that they could disable the cruise control function to avoid fires.
In the second recall, Ford noted problems in Ford F-150 trucks, Ford Expeditions, Lincoln Navigators and Ford F Series trucks manufactured in 2000.
Lowe claims that owners of those vehicles received letters informing them to go to the dealership to have their cruise control disabled until the parts they needed to make the repair were available in April and May 2005.
The plaintiffs claims Ford told them that since their vehciles were not part of the recall Ford could not be of any assistance.
Lowe claims the statutes of limitations have been tolled, or have not run, or Ford is estopped from asserting the statutes because Ford allegedly concealed and falsely denied the defects in the Ford vehicles.
The plaintiffs' are seeking an amount to be determined at trial, plus punitive damages in an amount be proven at trial.
United States District Judge David Herndon has been assigned to all six cases.