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Ford Spark Plug And 3-Valve Engine Nationwide Settlement Receives Final Approval

On January 26, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Benita Y. Pearson granted final approval to an agreement to settle a nationwide product defect class action against Ford Motor Company. The settlement provides substantial and meaningful relief to class members by providing the opportunity for them to receive significant cash reimbursement for spark plug replacements exceeding $300.  Class members include all persons and entities who purchased or leased a Ford model year 2004-2008 vehicle in the United States that was equipped with a 5.4-liter 3-valve engine (including flex fuel vehicles).

At issue were more than two million vehicles sold or leased nationwide by Ford with three-valve engines that contain defective spark plugs and related engine defects.  These vehicles include the following Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brand models:  2005-2008 Ford Mustang; 2004-2008 Ford F-150; 2005-2008 Ford Expedition; 2005 Ford F-Super Duty; 2006-2008 Ford Explorer; F-53 Motorhome Chassis; 2007-2008 Ford Explorer Sport Trac; 2005-2008 Lincoln Navigator; 2006-2008 Lincoln Mark LT; and 2006-2008 Mercury Mountaineer.  The spark plugs of each of these vehicles have an unconventional multi-piece design that is susceptible to breakage during removal.  The longer the defective plugs remain in a vehicle — and Ford’s recommended maintenance schedule calls for spark plug replacement no sooner than 100,000 miles —the more difficult it becomes to remove the plugs.  As a result, when an owner or mechanic attempts to remove a defective spark plug, it will often break off leaving part of the plug in the cylinder.  Removal of the plug remnants imposes substantial additional costs (often exceeding several thousand dollars) on the vehicle owner.

Under the terms of the settlement, Ford will reimburse class members for a percentage of the expenses they paid to replace the spark plugs in their vehicles in excess of $37.50 per replaced plug (or $300 to replace eight plugs).  As reflected in the following chart, the percentage of reimbursement ranges from 20% to 75% depending on the total amount paid for the spark plug service.  [Chart.pdf]  Under the terms of the settlement, some class members are expected to receive more than $1,700.  Goldenberg Schneider is proud to have played a central role in achieving this settlement.  We are grateful to our co-counsel for partnering with us in this endeavor, and to all the parties involved and their counsel for their hard work and leadership in reaching this favorable resolution to the dispute.

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