On February 14, 2018, the Judge presiding over the class action lawsuit involving Ford’s MyFord Touch (“MFT”) infotainment systems issued an opinion that denied, in large part, a motion for summary judgment filed by Ford. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that the MFT system suffers from an underlying, systemic defect in its base software that caused numerous problems, including freezing up, loss of Bluetooth connectivity, and failure of the navigation system and backup camera. The plaintiffs further allege that the driver distraction caused by these malfunctions creates an unreasonable safety risk.
In rejecting many of Ford’s arguments as to why the lawsuit should be dismissed, the Court found that the plaintiffs “have introduced sufficient proof from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the MFT defect caused, inter alia, persistent distractions; failed intermittently and unexpectedly while performing key functions such as navigation assistance or rear-view cameras; and impaired operability by undermining use of the rear-view cameras, climate control systems, and navigation systems, often requiring drivers to pull-over to reboot the systems.” The Court also observed that the plaintiffs “have introduced evidence that these defects are prevalent in the class vehicles,” and that a jury could conclude “that the defect presents an unreasonable safety risk.” In sum, the Court refused to grant Ford’s summary judgment motion with respect to the plaintiffs’ claims for breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, negligence under Ohio law, and violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and the California Unfair Competition Law (to the extent it is not based on fraud). The Court also allowed many of the individual, non-certified fraud claims to proceed to trial. It did, however, grant Ford’s summary judgment motion as to the Colorado strict liability claim due to its view that there had been a change in that state’s law.
The Court had previously certified classes of MFT owners/lessees from eight states: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Washington. The classes include those who purchased or leased their MFT-equipped vehicles in those states directly from Ford or a Ford dealership before August 9, 2013. While the claim asserted on behalf of the Colorado class was dismissed in the recent opinion, each of the other seven states have claims that will be proceeding to trial. That is currently scheduled to begin on May 11, 2018 in federal court in San Francisco.
A copy of the summary judgment opinion can be accessed below. For additional information about the lawsuit please contact the attorneys below.