Ford Motor Company has agreed to
settle a nationwide class action lawsuit in which up to one million Ford Explorer owners have claimed that exhaust
was able to leak into their vehicles through the air conditioning vent
in the passenger compartment. The plaintiffs were represented by Attorneys
John Uustal and
Michael Hersh of Kelley/Uustal together with Jordan Lewis of Jordan Lewis P.A. of Fort
According to the lawsuit, the defect made it possible for “dangerous
quantities” of carbon monoxide to enter the vehicle. Plaintiff Angela
Sanchez-Knutson originally sued Ford in 2014 after smelling the exhaust
fumes during each of eight service visits she made to a Sunrise Ford dealership
and being told that although the dealership was aware of the problem,
they did not know how to fix it. The lawsuit claimed that Ford was in
violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act as well as state consumer
The proposed settlement, which was filed this week in Fort Lauderdale Federal
Court, will provide repairs for the owners of 2011-2015 model year Explorers.
The first set of repairs will involve sealing the cabin, replacing air
vents, and reprogramming the air conditioning system. If the problem persists,
Ford has promised to provide a newly redesigned exhaust pipe with a downward
pointing tip. If the vehicle owner still smells exhaust after these repairs
have been made, then Ford has agreed to an expedited process regarding
buying back the vehicle.
"A fix was more important than a monetary payment because the cars,
if they weren't fixed, were continuing to be sold and other people
would drive them," said John Uustal.
Ford has also agreed to notify all original buyers, and current owners,
of the settlement. According to Mr. Uustal, "If any of them paid
out of pocket for trying to get this thing fixed, [they] will be able
to participate in the reimbursement process, even if they don't own
the car anymore.”
The issue came to litigation in the United States after the problem had
been resolved in other countries because Ford treats what it considers
“hot weather countries” differently than “standard weather
countries.” The plaintiffs successfully argued that while drivers
in colder climates were unlikely to have a problem because they seldom
use the air conditioner, drivers in hotter climates like Florida were
at a greater risk. "I don't think that Florida is a 'standard'
climate," said Mr. Uustal. "You can't just call the U.S.
'standard.' Florida is a hot-weather climate."
Varying levels of reimbursement will also be provided for owners whose
warranties expired. The settlement was reached after trial commenced before
U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas.
If you own one of the affected 2011-2015 Ford Explorers, you may be able
to benefit from this settlement. For more information, please contact
a Fort Lauderdale class action attorney at Kelley/Uustal by calling