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Ford F-150 Class Action Lawsuit Over 10-Speed Automatic Transmission Defects

Current or former owners of Model Year 2017-2020 Ford F-150 vehicles equipped with the 10R80, a 10-speed automatic transmission, need to pay attention to their rights. Current or former owners of these vehicles should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force Ford to either “buy the vehicle back,” or provide other important compensation if these vehicles exhibit a defect in the transmission.

That can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease. This could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, license, registration, etc. In fact, you could even qualify for two times your money back, depending on the circumstances. There is a formula in the law, that starts with you getting all your money back and then taking certain deductions and exclusions away from your payment. Those refunds and exclusions are difficult to understand and can be fought against by knowledgeable consumer attorneys.

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

A class action lawsuit has been filed over this issue on behalf of owners and lessees of these vehicles. O’Connor v. Ford Motor Company, Case No. 1:19-cv-05045, was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on July 26, 2019. A Consolidated Amended Complaint was filed on September 25, 2020.

According to that Complaint, these vehicles contain defects in the 10R80 transmission, a 10-speed automatic transmission. This alleged defect “can cause the transmission to shift harshly and erratically, causing the vehicle to jerk, lunge, and hesitate between gears”.

The lawsuit alleges and consumers have reported that the transmissions in these vehicles also can exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Clanking noise
  • Jerky and rough acceleration and deceleration
  • Delayed engagement of the transmission and gears holding too long then roughly slamming into gear
  • The vehicle fails to speed up when trying to accelerate
  • The transmission slips and jerks while accelerating and shifting gears.

According to a recent article in Consumer Reports, Ford has issued a recall of over 47,000 Ford F150 trucks, but only from the 2021 Model year “because their transmissions may unexpectedly shift into neutral while in motion, which could cause a crash.” Link to the full article.

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

The Ford F150 Transmission Class Action Lawsuit

O’Connor v. Ford Motor Company, Case No. 1:19-cv-05045, was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on July 26, 2019. After the Court granted a motion to dismiss, a Consolidated Amended Complaint was filed on September 25, 2020.

On September 30, 2021, the court granted in part and denied in part Ford’s motion to dismiss in large part. Some of the breach of implied warranty claims were dismissed for certain states, while other claims were allowed to proceed, including counts for negligence, fraud, fraudulent concealment, and unjust enrichment. The nationwide class action claims were not dismissed after the court ruled the issue of dismissal is too early at this stage of the lawsuit.

Another action involving this defect was recently filed and has been consolidated with this lawsuit. Ford has filed a motion to compel individual arbitration of these claims, which has recently been submitted to the Court.

The parties filed a joint status report in February 2022 detailing the status of the case, the progress of discovery that has just been started, and the prospects of settlement. The parties are to file an updated report by April 28, 2022 “detailing their discovery progress and the prospects of settlement.”

Discovery has not been completed in that action, according to the parties they have not engaged in settlement negotiations to date, and no trial date has been set. It is likely no trial date will be set to start before 2024.

Once that report is filed, we will update this summary to provide more information on the status of this lawsuit.

Your options if you own a Ford F150 (2017-2020) and are experiencing transmission problems

For many people, a class action may provide significant benefits and does not require much effort to participate if that case is settled. It also comes with no risk, as the claims have been resolved. But for others, particularly where they may have had multiple repairs to or complaints about the alleged defect pursuing individual claims may provide them an opportunity to receive a better recovery, in a shorter period of time, but with no guarantee, they will get anything in a settlement.

When it comes to vehicle claims, what to do can be a complex decision, as it can depend on many factors, such as:

  • how old is your car?
  • have you had transmission problems?
  • have you taken it in for repairs on one or more than one occasion?
  • do you still own the car?
  • is the car still under warranty?
  • Where do you live?

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

Ford F150 Transmission Class Action – FAQ

What does the Ford F150 class action lawsuit allege is wrong with the vehicle?

The complaint in the class action lawsuit alleges that the 2017-2020 Ford F150 vehicles contain one or more design and/or manufacturing defects, that can cause the transmission in these vehicles to shift harshly and erratically, causing the vehicle to jerk, lunge, and hesitate between gears.

Transmission symptoms include:

  • Clanking noise
  • Jerky and rough acceleration and deceleration
  • Delayed engagement of the transmission and gears holding too long then roughly slamming into gear
  • The vehicle fails to speed up when trying to accelerate
  • The transmission slips and jerks while accelerating and shifting gears.

According to a recent article in Consumer Reports “The problem is due to an error in the transmission’s software. If this problem occurs, owners may notice a loss of vehicle power and a wrench symbol illuminated on the dashboard near the speedometer. Once the vehicle is stopped, it may automatically go into Park. Ford says that turning the ignition off and on will reset the vehicle immediately.”

However, the recall only involves Model Year 2021 Ford F-150 pickup trucks built between July 28, 2021, and Dec. 20, 2021.  Only Ford F-150 vehicles with 3.5L, 2.7L and 5.0L engines that are not equipped with Auto Start-Stop technology are included in the recall. ​​All the recalled trucks have a transmission with the internal code of 10R80. Ford will contact owners of affected vehicles by mail starting May 2, 2022. Owners may also contact Ford at 866-436-7332.

What are the Ford F150 vehicle models identified in the class action lawsuit?

The Complaint was on behalf of a class of owners and lessees who purchased or leased the model year 2017-2020 Ford F-150 vehicles with a 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission in the United States. The Complaint also asserts claims on behalf of subclasses of residents in the following states: Illinois, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

How many Ford F150 vehicles are impacted by this transmission defect?

According to publicly available data, there have been approximately 575,000 vehicles of these vehicles sold or leased.

Is Ford aware of this alleged transmission defect in the F150?

According to the Complaint, Ford is aware of this defect These vehicles have been plagued with the same or similar recurrent problems for years. Technical Service Bulletins issued by Ford to its dealer network and instructions on how to try to repair these transmissions evidence Ford’s knowledge of the Defect. Ford also knows of this defect through numerous sources of information, such as pre-production testing, design failure mode, and analysis data, production design failure mode and analysis data, early consumer complaints made to Ford’s network of dealers and directly to Ford, aggregate warranty data compiled from Ford’s network of dealers, testing conducted by Ford in response to consumer complaints, and repair order and parts data received by Ford from its network of dealers.

In addition, according to a recent Consumer Reports article, Ford is aware of a transmission defect in Model 2021 Ford F-150s, and is recalling approximately 47,000 Model 2021 Ford F-150 vehicles because their transmissions may unexpectedly shift into neutral while in motion.

How does the transmission defect violate the vehicles’ warranty?

Ford provides a “New Vehicle Limited Warranty Powertrain Coverage.” Ford vehicles are covered by a new vehicle limited warranty, and almost all come with a 3-Year / 36,000-mile limited warranty (whichever occurs first) and a 5-year / 60,000-mile limited warranty for powertrain components (whichever occurs first). The Warranty covers repairs and adjustments needed to correct defects in materials or workmanship of any part supplied by Ford. In addition, there are implied warranties established by state and federal law that may apply to these vehicles.

For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

Has Ford offered owners anything to resolve this transmission issue?

To date, Ford has been unable to resolve this issue or disclosed this defect to consumers. Instead, according to the Complaint, “since 2017, Ford has attempted to squelch public recognition of the Transmission Defect by propagating the falsehood that the harsh and bumpy shifting in Class Vehicles was “normal,” through statements made to consumers and the general public by Ford employees, authorized dealers, agents, sales representatives and/or repair technicians, and through TSBs which sought to normalize the poor performance and safety issues.”

According to a recent Consumer Reports article, Ford is aware of a transmission defect in Model 2021 Ford F-150s, and is recalling approximately 47,000 Model 2021 Ford F-150 vehicles. Ford claims that because of a problem with the transmission software, the vehicle may erroneously sense that the transmission fluid pressure is too low and shift into Neutral. If a problem actually existed with the transmission fluid pressure, this sequence of events would protect the transmission from damage and give the driver time to pull over.

Are Ford F150 trucks with the transmission issue unsafe?

According to the Complaint Ford has allowed consumers to continue to drive these vehicles, despite knowing that they are prone to harsh or abrupt shifting, hesitation, and surging, putting both drivers and passengers at risk.

In addition, Ford is recalling certain 2021 F-150 pickup trucks because their transmissions may unexpectedly shift into neutral while in motion, which could cause a crash.

What is the California Song Beverly Warranty Act?

The California Song-Beverly Warranty Act, California Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), is a California state law that requires manufacturers to repair defects after a reasonable number of repair attempts. What is “reasonable” is not part of hard and fast rules – safety defects should be fixed immediately, for example. The defects have to be important, and must “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, OR safety.” Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2). Under Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers are required to promptly offer repurchase or replacement of a vehicle they cannot fix in a reasonable time frame. In addition, Civil Code §1794(c) and §1793.2(d) provide that customers are entitled to a civil penalty in an amount up to two times actual damages if manufacturers acted “willfully” (meaning knowingly, but not necessarily with malicious intent) in ignoring or failing its obligation under Song-Beverly.

Finally, under Civil Code §1794(d), manufacturers must pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs as part of the settlement, as the Song-Beverly Act is a pro-consumer fee-shifting statute.

Other states have similar laws, which require their own explanation and analysis. For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

May I have additional rights if I am a member of the Armed Forces?

Under Cal. Civil Code 1795.8, if a person is a member of the Armed Forces the protections of the Song-Beverly Act may apply, even if you purchased your vehicle outside of California. The member of the Armed Forces would need to show they were stationed in or a resident of California at the time they purchased the vehicle or at the time they filed a claim against the manufacturer.

Why should I consider an individual lemon law claim?

For many people, a class action provides them some benefits without the need to spend any money or do much other than complete a claim form and avoid the risk of further litigation.

However, depending upon their circumstances some people may qualify for a full vehicle repurchase and a much more significant refund. Some people may decide that the relief offered as part of the class action settlement is not adequate, that they do not want to wait to get relief, or that they think they will get more if they do not participate in the class action settlement.

This depends on a variety of factors, such as how old is your car, did you have problems in your car, have you tried repairs and how often, do you still own the car, is it still under warranty, and where do you live. Depending on the answers to those questions, while there is no guarantee you will receive any recovery if you opt-out you may have the opportunity to obtain significant relief.

Free Lemon Law Consultation

As there is no settlement of the class action lawsuit at this time, there is nothing you need to immediately do.

There is a lot to consider in deciding whether to pursue an individual lemon law claim.

The Hanson Law Firm is available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision.

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