— A Ford Explorer Police Interceptor exhaust leak lawsuit has been dismissed after two police officers alleged carbon monoxide in the exhaust fumes harmed them.
The class action lawsuit includes all New York police officers and law enforcement officers who drive 2011-2017 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles.
Plaintiffs Peter Lake and Timothy Creed claim the SUVs have design flaws that cause exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartments and poison occupants. The plaintiffs also claim Ford is fully aware of the carbon monoxide dangers and has broken laws by failing to fix the problems.
When the lawsuit was filed, both plaintiffs were police officers with the Nassau County Police Department of New York and were assigned to drive Explorers modified for law enforcement. Both men allege they were harmed by carbon monoxide fumes while driving the patrol vehicles.
In February 2018, plaintiff Lake was involved in a crash allegedly caused by carbon monoxide in his blood. In December 2017, plaintiff Creed says he began suffering from headaches, dizziness and respiratory distress as a result of alleged elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the cabin of his vehicle.
Reports from the hospitals confirmed elevated carbon monoxide levels in both plaintiffs.
The lawsuit alleges the vehicles continued to trigger carbon monoxide alarms even after the Explorers were allegedly repaired because Ford's representative failed to fix the problem on behalf of the police department.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim violations for breach of implied warranty, violation of New York General Municipal Law 205-e and violation of the New York Consumer Protection from Deceptive Acts and Practices Act 349.
Ford filed a motion to dismiss each claim, starting with the breach of warranty claim which the automaker argues is barred by the terms of the Explorer warranties related to police vehicles. According to Ford, the warranty specifically disclaims implied warranties for vehicles used primarily for business or commercial purposes.
The judge agreed and dismissed breach of implied warranty claims because Ford's contract contains an explicit disclaimer of all warranties.
"These implied warranties do not apply at all if you use your vehicle for business or commercial purposes." - Ford warranty
The judge also dismissed the claim of violating the General Municipal Law 205-e because the claim was based on the National Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
According to the judge, the plaintiffs "try to use a state law claim as a vehicle to privately enforce a federal statute that lacks a private right of action. Because the Safety Act does not create a private right of action, it cannot form the basis of Plaintiff s Section 205 e claim."
The remaining New York General Business Law 349 claim was also dismissed because a plaintiff must allege Ford engaged in consumer-oriented conduct that was materially misleading.
According to the judge, the plaintiffs admit they didn't purchase the Explorers for personal use. In fact, they didn't purchase the SUVs at all and therefore are not consumers under section 349.
"Although Plaintiffs allege that several officers may be harmed by Ford's alleged omissions regarding the exhaust odor defect, the deceptive conduct complained of, the omission of the defect in the vehicles purchased by police departments, was not directed at the consuming public. Although consumers eventually stood to be affected by any defects in the product, questions about misrepresentations between the parties are essentially private matters and do not come within the ambit of section 349."
The Ford Explorer Police Interceptor exhaust leak lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York - Lake, et al., v. Ford Motor Company.
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