— A Ford F-150 master cylinder lawsuit alleges brake failures occur in 2013-2018 trucks due to defective sealing mechanisms that allow brake fluid to leak.
The class action lawsuit includes six plaintiffs in five states who purchased Ford F-150 trucks allegedly at risk of losing braking ability. The plaintiffs claim their trucks suffered brake failures at different times, with one plaintiff alleging the problem occurred within five months of buying the F-150.
Another plaintiff claims the brakes failed when the F-150 had less than 20,000 miles, while another plaintiff says the brakes failed as he was trying to slow down for a freeway off-ramp. In every case, Ford technicians allegedly diagnosed the failures as caused by master cylinder problems.
The plaintiffs also allege Ford knew about the alleged master cylinder problems before the trucks were sold based on internal documents and customer complaints beginning with 2013 F-150s.
The master cylinder lawsuit references an investigation opened by federal safety regulators in 2016 after customers complained about master cylinders that leaked in 2013-2014 Ford F-150s.
Following the opening of the investigation, Ford recalled 2013-2014 trucks because of problems with seals that caused brake fluid to leak into the brake boosters.
However, the recall didn't include all 2013-2014 F-150s and owners of 2015-2018 trucks were completely left out of the recall. In addition, the lawsuit alleges the recall repairs didn't mean much because Ford used the same defective master cylinders as replacement parts.
The automaker filed a motion to dismiss the master cylinder lawsuit and succeeded in convincing the judge to drop about half the claims.
According to the plaintiffs, Ford violated express warranty laws by allegedly replacing defective master cylinders with equally defective master cylinders. But Ford argues it fully complied with the terms of the F-150 limited warranty, which says:
"Nothing in this warranty should be construed as requiring defective parts to be replaced with parts of a different type or design than the original part, so long as the vehicle functions properly with the replacement part."
The judge agreed with Ford by ruling, "Plaintiffs have not alleged that they experienced any problems subsequent to the replacement of the master cylinder."
On claims of violating breach of implied warranty laws, Ford argues the claims fail because the alleged "defect" referenced in the lawsuit is insufficient to render the trucks unmerchantable. In other words, the automaker argues the plaintiffs haven't alleged their F-150s are "unfit for their ordinary purpose of providing transportation."
Ford also told the judge claims of violating implied warranty laws must be dropped on at least some of the plaintiffs because the customers didn't purchase the trucks directly from the manufacturer.
According to the judge, Ford wins the implied warranty arguments and based on that ruling, claims of violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act must also be dismissed. The judge ruled Ford is correct to argue claims under the Act fail because the plaintiffs failed to plead express and implied warranty claims.
In its motion to dismiss, Ford also alleges fraud-based claims fail because the plaintiffs do not sufficiently allege Ford knew about the alleged defects when the trucks were sold.
But according to the class action lawsuit, Ford allegedly knew the master cylinders were defective through "pre-release evaluation and testing; repair data, replacement part sales data; early consumer complaints made directly to Ford, collected by NHTSA, testing done in response to those complaints, aggregate data from Ford dealers; and other internal sources."
The judge ruled against Ford by finding the plaintiffs adequately alleged Ford knew about F-150 master cylinder problems before the trucks were sold. The judge ruled that "construed liberally," the allegations made in the lawsuit are sufficient at this stage of the proceedings to allege pre-sale knowledge.
The judge also ruled on allegations the plaintiffs relied on Ford's omissions concerning the F-150 master cylinders when making decisions to purchase the trucks. According to the judge, the plaintiffs adequately allege reliance on Ford's intentional omissions, contrary to arguments from Ford in its motion to dismiss.
In addition to those rulings, Judge Gershwin Allen Drain ruled in favor of Ford and dismissed five unjust enrichment claims.
The Ford F-150 master cylinder lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan - Weidman et al., v. Ford Motor Company.
The plaintiffs are represented by the Miller Law Firm, P.C., Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., and DiCello Levitt & Casey.
CarComplaints.com has brake complaints about F-150s: