This blog has discussed the ongoing Ford class action lawsuit in federal court in West Virginia. Customers who purchased Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles made between 2002 and 2010 claim that they would not have purchased their vehicles had they known that they had an issue with sudden and unintended acceleration. While none of the customers were injured, they claimed that they overpaid for their vehicles, given the lack of a safety feature such as a Brake Throttle Override, which would depower the engine in cases where the gas pedal is trapped by a floor mat. Ford Motor Company filed a motion to dismiss back in June, which is still pending.
Recently Ford Motor Company filed an opposition in response to the plaintiffs’ attorneys request for a preliminary injunction. The motion for an injunction requested that the judge force Ford Motor Company to issue a consumer advisory that owners of Ford vehicles are at “grave risk” of physical harm due to sudden unintended acceleration. The advisory would consist of three steps: first, the driver should step hard on the brake without pumping it; second, the driver should shift into neutral and navigate the car to a safe location, preferably the side of the road; finally, the driver should turn off the engine. Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that any delay in issuing a consumer advisory would expose current Ford owners to “substantial” risk, including physical injury and property damage. Both represented an “irreparable injury” that could only be addressed through a preliminary injunction.
In response, Ford Motor Company argued in its opposition that, by filing the motion, the plaintiffs were “attempting to bypass several key steps,” including the outcome of the motion to dismiss, the discovery process, the class certification process, the Daubert evidence challenges, summary judgment motions, and even the trial. By forcing Ford Motor Company to issue an advisory, the company claimed, the plaintiffs are seeking to impose class-wide relief. The company also argued that the plaintiffs had not identified any actual defects in the vehicle, just that the gas pedal could be caught in the floor mat.
Preliminary injunctions are not uncommon in cases where there is an “ongoing harm.” Since it may be months before a case is resolved, injured parties often seek a temporary halt to the activity believed to be causing the harm. To obtain a preliminary injunction, they argue: (1) the case has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) the injured party faces the threat of irreparable damage or injury if the injunction is not granted; (3) the balance of harms is in favor of the party seeking the injunction; and (4) a preliminary injunction would serve the public interest. If the preliminary injunction is granted by the judge, it remains until the case has been decided. If the injured party succeeds, the injunction may become permanent. Otherwise, the injunction may be dissolved or dismissed. If you have been injured and are interested in a preliminary injunction, contact a West Virginia personal injury attorney today.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia attorney, contact us today.