Last June, Ford recalled 2.9 million 2013-2019 Ford Escape, 2013-2018 C-Max, 2013-2016 Fusion, 2013-2021 Transit Connect, and 2015-2018 Ford Edge models over a gear-shifting safety defect that can prevent the transmission from shifting into the intended gear, which could cause the vehicle to move in an unexpected direction, increasing the risk of a crash. The fix for this problem is to have dealers replace the under hood shift bushing and add a protective cap over the shift cable bushing, which many owners have argued is inadequate. As a result, not just one, but two lawsuits were filed over this matter back in January, but this past March, Ford asked for one of them to be dismissed. Now, that’s precisely what has happened, according to Car Complaints.
The lawsuit – Sergio Diaz, et al., v. Ford Motor Company – was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by New York plaintiff Sergio Diaz and Illinois plaintiff Retha Connors. It alleged that Ford was aware of defects related to the Hilex Hytrel 4556 bushings it used in the aforementioned vehicles well before the first recall was issued back in July 2018, though neither of the plaintiffs have suffered these issues with their own personal vehicles, nor have they taken those vehicles to a dealer for inspection.
Ford has argued that the shifter bushing class action lawsuit is baseless, as the automaker replaced those defective bushings with ones made from a sturdier material that also utilize a heat stabilizer. Moreover, The Blue Oval stated that the plaintiffs have not provided any evidence that the recall repairs will fail, and noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) oversees those same repairs.
Ultimately, Judge George Caram Steeh ruled that the vehicles belonging to the plaintiffs don’t need to have defective bushings to establish an injury, but ultimately dismissed the case because of not only Ford’s willingness to replace these defective bushings with new ones, but also its reimbursements to owners for out-of-pocket expenses they may incur as a result of this defect. “A named plaintiff must allege facts showing that he or she personally suffered economic loss as a result of an inadequate recall to state a cognizable injury on the basis of a recalled product,” Judge Steeh said. “Although Plaintiffs contend that they were injured by overpaying for their vehicles at the point of sale, they do not plausibly allege that such diminished value will persist after the defective bushings are replaced by Ford.”