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Ford Explorer Defective Tailgate Class Action Lawsuit


            The plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit allege that certain Ford vehicles suffer from a defect that causes tailgates to crack.  The suit seeks to represent all current and former owners and leases of Ford Explorers or Mercury Mountaineers from 2002-2005 and Lincoln Aviators from 2003-2005. 

            One plaintiff in this case, Nancy Hough, purchased a new 2002 Ford Explorer in 2005.  Two years later in 2007, she discovered that her tailgate was cracked.  She then informed Ford, but they refused to pay for the repairs.  Hough then had to pay out-of-pocket to fix her Explorer’s tailgate.  In June 2008, she discovered another crack.  Like the first time, Ford refused to repair the part.  The cost of repairing a cracked tailgate in Explorers, Mountaineers, and Aviators is between $300 and $800.  This repair does not prevent more cracks from developing.  Hough, as well as 30 other plaintiffs from 25 states and all other owners of these vehicles have suffered some sort of damage, whether that be out-of-pocket expenses, future expenses, or a diminished vehicle value. 

            The tailgate of a vehicle is the door at the back that allows access to the trunk of a wagon, crossover, or SUV.  The tailgates in the Explorers, Mountaineers, and Aviators were made out of flawed materials and were assembled using deficient techniques.  As a result, these tailgates were defective at the moment of sale and likely to exhibit a large, discernible crack to the tailgate panel to the plaintiffs and other owners.  In addition to the defect causing the tailgate to crack, a cracked tailgate poses further safety risks such as the window in the tailgate dropping out, potentially injuring bystanders or shattering.  The lawsuit alleges that Ford knew of the defect as early as 2002.  In July 2003, Ford issued bulletins acknowledging the issue.  Despite this knowledge, in most instances Ford systematically refused to repair tailgates, asserting cracks were caused by an outside force and not an inherent defect.

            Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that Ford breached its common law warranty obligations and unjustly enriched itself at the expense of consumers in various states.  Also, Ford violated the Magnuson-Moss Federal Warranty Act, which protects consumers from deceptive warranty practices.

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