On September 13, 2019, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated approval of the class action settlement in the case Vargas, et al. v. Ford Motor Company (D.C. 2:12-cv-08388-AB-FFM). The Appeals Court found that the settlement may not have been fair and adequate to class members, and remanded it for further review.
This settlement had provided that class members–owners of certain Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta models with transmission issues–would give up their individual lemon law and consumer fraud rights in exchange for certain consideration such as smaller cash payments or coupons toward a new purchase, and an arbitration process paid for by Ford with limited remedies.
With approval of the settlement vacated, our firm is pursuing individual claims on behalf of consumers who suffered with these defective transmissions.
The current status of the class settlement is that the federal district court will examine it more closely, and may again choose to approve it. Therefore, we recommend that consumers considering pursuing a claim make sure to investigate your legal rights without delay, as they may again disappear or be reduced by re-approval of the settlement.
2011-2016 Ford Focus and 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta vehicles built with dual-clutch transmissions prone to shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration may be affected by the class settlement.
These problems and Ford’s failure to take responsibility for them have become better known, which may increase the value of your potential claim.
If you have had these or any other problems with your vehicle, contact us for a fast, free and confidential evaluation today.
We have previously written about how class actions affect individual lemon law claims and about the FCA ZF 9HP class action specifically. This is an update.
It appears the class settlement was in fact approved by the Court, or at least that FCA took action on it. A company called Dahl Administration LLC is administering the settlement claims process, including notification about the right to opt out.
Choosing to remain in the settlement and receive a smaller cash payment or coupon, or to opt out and potentially seek a buyback in a lemon law claim is an important decision. If you do nothing and remain in the settlement, it is possible Dahl Administration will determine that you receive no cash compensation whatsoever. Missing the chance to opt out is something we have seen consumers regret once they understand what their lemon law rights are.
What’s interesting is that it appears the settlement was only approved at the end of November 2018, and yet the opt-out deadline was January 2, 2019. This means that FCA and Dahl Administration only had slightly more than a month to notify class members of the important effects of the class settlement on their individual rights. Further, that notice period just happened to overlap three major holidays.
What are the chances that consumers were properly notified? Furthermore, what are the chances that FCA cares? They will surely argue that lemon law rights were wiped out by the failure to opt out, whether the notice was viable or not.
In answering these questions, a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out this opt out notice.
Granillo, et al. v. FCA US LLC, et al. Opt Out Notice
Note the postmark date (1/14/19) versus the opt out date (1/2/19). It would be tough to opt out two weeks after the deadline has passed, unless you have a time machine handy.
Somehow, we don’t think think it was lost on FCA or Dahl Administration that they were mailing notice of the opt out deadline after it was impossible to meet.
Our office has seen FCA use other class settlements administered by Dahl Administration to try to defeat lemon law claims. Often consumers are shocked when they learned that they were supposedly notified in advance.
So what should you do if you receive a late opt out notice? First, make sure to save it. Documentation is critical. Second, all of the facts of your claim have to be taken into account to determine how the settlement may affect your individual lemon law claims. Because the opt out deadline is technically already passed, the sooner you act the better. Contact us today if you would like a quick evaluation.
P.S. The same ZF 9 Speed transmission involved in the Granillo class action is also in 2014-2017 Range Rover Evoque, 2015-2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport, certain trims of 2015-2016 Honda Pilot and 2015-2017 Acura TLX and in Fiat 500X.
At Goldsmith West, we have noticed a trend of consumers experiencing problems in recent model year Honda CR-V models, including 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. These problems include but are not limited to problems with the engine, drivetrain and powertrain problems, loss of power, vibration, hesitation, cooling system, problems where the vehicle will not start, problems with the powertrain control module (PCM), engine knocking and stalling.
There have also been a series of incidents of reported fuel in the oil, and odor of gas fumes inside the cabin of the vehicle.
2018 model year in particular seems to have excess concerns about problems with gasoline in the oil tank.
Attribution: ABC15 Arizona
These vehicles are also equipped with CVT transmissions, which are known to have a litany of issues, as seen in class action cases for other models. (Links) There has been at least one recall issued for this vehicle. (Link)
There has also been a problem with the Electronic Brake Booster (EBB) system for which a technical service bulletin (TSB) was issued.
Consumers may experience the following Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs): P0300, P0301, P0302, P0304, P0172, P0297, P2187, P2583-76, and U3003-16.