— A Ford lug nuts class-action lawsuit should be dismissed because all the claims are baseless, or so says attorneys for the automaker who argue the plaintiffs apparently want warranties to last forever.
The plaintiffs claim the affected Ford Escape, Fusion, Flex, Focus, F-150 and F-350 vehicles are equipped with two-piece lug nuts that delaminate, crack and swell because they are made with a combination of steel, chrome, aluminum or stainless steel instead of solid steel.
According to the class-action lawsuit, Ford could have used one-piece lug nuts but opted to use the cheaper two-piece capped lug nuts that crack and swell due to vibrations from the road, moisture and changing temperatures.
The plaintiffs told the judge it can easily cost $200 to replace the lug nuts for all four wheels and removing the cracked lug nuts can be nearly impossible where even repair shops have trouble unless special tools are used.
Ford drivers also claim the automaker has known about the problem for years based on complaints from customers and dealers, with some dealerships allegedly telling customers to replace the swollen lug nuts with parts from any company other than Ford.
The plaintiffs further claim Ford ignores its warranty obligations and forces customers to pay for the replacement lug nuts and for the labor of removing the damaged lug nuts.
In its motion to dismiss, Ford says the lawsuit alleges the automaker didn't disclose "safety defects" with the delaminated lug nuts, but the plaintiffs never allege the swollen lug nuts have ever caused physical injuries to any person or damage to any property.
In addition, the automaker argues the plaintiffs make claims based on laws in states where none of the plaintiffs reside.
Ford also says the plaintiffs talk about swollen lug nuts as if the lug nuts should be indestructible and the warranties should last forever, then wrongly "attempt to cast their product-defect allegations as warranty, fraud and unjust-enrichment claims."
Unjust enrichment claims allegedly fail because Ford doesn't benefit from indirect purchases and the plaintiffs do not allege they paid for higher-quality lug nuts than they actually received.
The automaker also told the judge how the plaintiffs talk about advertisements that promote vehicles as having "quality" and "style," but the plaintiffs confuse advertising "puffery" with claims about Ford allegedly making specific representations about the lug nuts.
Ford says none of the plaintiffs plead a valid warranty claim because none of them alleges the automaker charged for replacement lug nuts after customers visited dealers during the warranty periods.
While the plaintiffs claim Ford should stop selling the vehicles because of the lug nuts, Ford says wording in the warranty makes it clear the automaker can deny coverage for damage caused by “misuse,”“deterioration” from “exposure to the elements” and from “normal wear and tear.”
In addition, Ford told the judge only one plaintiff claims their vehicle is still covered by the manufacturers warranty, yet never took the vehicle to a dealer as the warranty requires.
Ford alleges some of the claims made by the plaintiffs are outright inconceivable, such as a plaintiff talking to "Ford salespeople" at a Buick GMC dealership, while other claims are "nonsensical," such as plaintiffs paying out-of-pocket for "unnecessary lug nut purchases."
Finally, Ford says in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit reads more like a press release than clear factual allegations that would entitle the plaintiffs to what they desire.
The Ford lug nuts class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan - Wozniak, et. al, vs. Ford Motor Company.