It’s understandable that companies want to be the first to bring a new product to market. But the complaint for this class action says that CNH Industrial America, LLC rushed its Module Express cotton picker and baler to market when it still had significant defects, and that it hid these defects from customers.
The class for this action is all buyers, owners, and lessees of Case Module Express Cotton pickers in the US.
CNH is the American arm of a Dutch company. The complaint alleges it was racing to beat competitor John Deere in bringing its picker/baler to market.
Originally, cotton was harvested using three different machines, a picker (to pick the cotton), a boll buggy (to transfer the cotton between the other two machines), and the module builder, which compacts the cotton into rectangular modules that can be processed in a gin. The Module Express machines were supposed to combine the functions of these three machines into one and perform them more quickly.
The complaint says that the machines had problems from the beginning and that CNH made statements to prospective customers that were deceptive and misleading. CNH represented that the Module Express was a reliable, powerful machine that could operate in all conditions and build consistent, well-formed modules, and that it was efficient and profitable. The complaint says that none of these representations were true.
Plaintiff T&M Farms paid nearly $500,000 each for two Case Module Express 625s from CNH. However, according to the complaint, the machines had problems in their power, hydraulic, module packing, and software systems, and that there were failures in the manufacturing process. The main selling point was the machines’ ability to bale the cotton into modules, but the complaint says that the machines were never able to do that properly and efficiently.
Since harvesting must be done during a limited window of time, farm equipment must be reliable and efficient. The complaint says that the Module Express Machines were not and that CNH did not provide parts and service necessary for repairs.
After having problems with the 625s, T&M Farms sold them, but onky got $68,000 each for them. T&M then bought a Module Express 635, hoping the problems had been fixed, but the complaint alleges that the model number change did not indicate a real difference but was designed simply to fool people who’d heard about the problems with the 625s. The 635, the complaint says, still had significant problems.
The complaint claims violations of the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act, breach of warranty of merchantability, and fraud, among other things.