class action lawsuit Ford, consumer protection

Ford F-150 brake defect class action moves forward

On Aug. 30, 2018, Beasley Allen attorneys H. Clay Barnett, III; Chris D. Baldwin and W. Dee Miles, III, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan a product defect class action against Ford Motor company concerning defective brakes in 2013-2018 Ford F-150 pickups, the company’s most popular product.

The quarter-ton pickup contains a defective Hitachi front brake master cylinder that places them at risk of suddenly and unexpectedly losing all front brake circuit function. Three years ago, Ford recalled a limited number of 2013-2014 F-150s but installed the same defective master cylinder design in the trucks it “repaired” and in all new builds through at least 2018. The recall was defective, as are all of the master cylinders installed in 2013-2018 F150 trucks.


On July 10, 2019, Judge Gershwin A. Drain of the Eastern District of Michigan denied most of Ford’s motion to dismiss, allowing plaintiffs to pursue their core claims. With this critical hurdle in the litigation now cleared, plaintiffs can proceed with taking discovery. During this next phase, Plaintiffs will develop the evidence proving that Ford F-150s have suffered a master cylinder defect for at least the last six years and that Ford knew of the defect from the beginning. Importantly, Beasley Allen asks that anyone who suffered brake failure in their 2013 through current F-150 contact the firm.

The thrust of the case concerns purchased or leased vehicles for model years 2013-2018 for the Ford F-150 trucks (“class vehicles”), and the vehicles’ brake master cylinder, which contains piston cup seals within the master cylinder that roll within their grooves and become unseated, allowing brake fluid to escape from the master cylinder resulting in loss of brake fluid, leading to loss of hydraulic pressure on the brake system, and finally resulting in loss of brake function on the class vehicles.

These primarily affect front brake circuits, but front brake circuits are responsible for 75 percent of the vehicles’ braking force; thus the master cylinder defect results in an almost complete loss of stopping power on the F-150. A clear safety issue.


In February 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation began a preliminary evaluation of reports of brake fluid leaking from the master cylinder in 2013-2014 Ford F-150 models with the 3.5-liter engines. In response, in May 2016, Ford Motor Company issued a safety recall known as 16S24 to address the loss of the front brake circuit function in a subset model year 2013-2014 for the Ford F-150, specifically those with the F-150 3.5 liter “EcoBoost Engine” that were built between Aug. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2014. In that safety recall, 16S24, Ford admitted the existence of the master cylinder defect.

Ford cited risks of a “compromised” primary cup seal and the corresponding loss of the brake fluid “into the brake booster.” However, the recall was grossly inadequate.

Not only did the 2016 recall fail to address all affected models from 2013- 2014 F-150s, neither did it address any model year 2015-2018, even though all model years 2013-2018 F-150 vehicles share the very same master cylinder as the recall vehicles. In addition, the recall provides an ineffective remedy even for vehicles it does address because it merely calls for the replacement of the master cylinder with a new master cylinder that is internally identical to the one that failed. In other words, the recall simply calls for the replacement of one defective part with another defective part.

Despite its awareness of the master cylinder defect, Ford continued to sell hundreds of thousands of F-150s and did so despite knowing that the dangerously unreliable master cylinders failed suddenly and unexpectedly, posing a safety hazard to Plaintiffs and other class members as well as others sharing the road with the class vehicles.

Join the Ford F-150 class action lawsuit

Clay Barnett in the firm’s Atlanta office, Chris Baldwin and Mitch Williams of Montgomery and Dee Miles, head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud section, filed this class action lawsuit along with Adam J. Levitt, John E. Tangren and Daniel Ferri from the Dicello, Levitt & Gutzler firm located in Chicago, Illinois; Annika Martina and Mark Chalos of Lieff, Cabraser of San Francisco and our local counsel E. Powell Miller and Sharon Almonrode with the Miller Law Firm located in Rochester, Michigan.

We are looking at any claims involving 2013-2018 model year Ford F-150s involving brake failure or abnormal brake behavior. If you feel you have a claim, contact our firm at 800-898-2034 or fill out the contact form on this page, and we will be happy to evaluate your claim.


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