American automaker Ford is staring down a lawsuit accusing it of mismanaging a recall of cars that could suddenly burst into flames. If all that sounds familiar, it’s because this is the second such lawsuit filed against Ford in the past month.
Earlier this year, Ford faced a legal challenge from more than 20 Expedition and Lincoln Navigator owners who weren’t happy with its handling of a recall of those cars. The case claimed that Ford’s handling of the fires fell short of customer expectations.
Now, the very same legal firm that is attempting to sue Ford over that recall is gunning for the automaker in court about a second issue. This time, it’s all about a recall affecting Ford Escape, Maverick and Lincoln Corsair hybrids sold between 2020 and 2022.
These cars were recalled earlier this year because of a risk of fire in their engine bays. The recall hits more than 100,000 vehicles built at Ford’s Louisville and Hermosillo plants between January 19th 2019 and June 13 2022.
Now, attorneys at the Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro law firm are seeking compensation for buyers following the company’s handling of the recall.
The lawsuit alleges that Ford’s fix for the problem does “nothing to address the manufacturing defect” in the affected cars, which it argues can “can cause the engine to leak flammable fluids and vapors.”
Attorneys claim that Ford’s fix for the issue, which has so far led to 23 instances of smoke and fire, has been to “drill holes into the under-engine shield, allowing any pooled fluids or vapors to leak out.”
In a statement, Steve Berman, Hagens Berman co-founder and managing partner, said: “Ford’s fix is essentially rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
“While drivers, their families and others on the road attend to the real crisis of a potential vehicle fire due to this manufacturing defect, Ford’s solution does nothing to address the issue at hand and will mean an unknowable amount of engine fluids will be spilled onto roads, leaching into groundwater and soil.”
The recall of Ford’s Maverick, Escape and Lincoln Corsair models was first announced in July. Back then, the company warned that a combination of engine oil and fuel vapor could flood ignition sources, potentially causing a fire under the hood.
Ford began notifying owners of affected vehicles earlier this month. Initially, owners were advised to park and shut off the engine if they hear a change in engine noise or see smoke.
To fix the issue, it said that dealers would “modify the under engine shield and active grille shutter” in order to prevent fires from starting in other cars.