Detroit lawyer E. Powell Miller from the Detroit-area Miller Law Firm was appointed lead interim counsel in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) comprised of drivers who allege Ford Motor Co. deliberately overinflated the fuel-economy ratings for some of its truck models.

Daniel “Dee” Miles of the Beasley Allen law firm told Law360 Mr. Miller’s appointment is “the perfect choice” because of his experience with auto defect cases and the respect that other lawyers involved in the case have for him.

The MDL, called the Ford Motor Co. F-150 and Ranger Truck Fuel Economy Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, consolidates more than 20 lawsuits alleging Ford intentionally exaggerated miles-per-gallon fuel ratings by manipulating certain “road load” factors. These factors include aerodynamic drag, friction, tires, and other things that affect fuel economy during vehicle certification testing.

A Beasley Allen consumer class action alleging Ford markets and sells its 2019 Rangers and 2018 F-150 with false, exaggerated fuel economy ratings is one of the lawsuits included in the MDL.

“As a result of Ford’s alleged actions, customers are potentially being misled into purchasing Ford vehicles with a quality different than that represented by Ford, and consumers are likely paying higher fuel costs as a result,” Mr. Miles said.

Ford Motor Company is already under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) for its emissions certification practices, which the auto giant disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing in April.

That inquiry focuses on Ford’s analytical modeling and resistance testing practices but does not involve the use of defeat devices, like the ones Volkswagen used to disguise emissions readings in millions of its diesel vehicles over at least six years.

Mr. Miles served as one of the 22 attorneys appointed to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee leading the litigation against Volkswagen over its emissions cheat, which resulted in a settlement worth more than $14 billion.

In Detroit, Mr. Miller said he is “honored to have been appointed as interim lead counsel in the Ford pickup truck MDL. We look forward to prosecuting this important case,” he told Law 360.

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