Saturday, January 24, 2015 - On December 17, 13 lawsuits against Navistar Inc. related to faulty Maxxforce diesel engines were consolidated into multidistrict litigation by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The exact issue in question concerns the Advanced EGR emission control system used by the Maxxforce diesel engine, which allegedly has problems with overheating and engine failure. The lawsuit also claims that the Maxxforce engines do not comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exhaust emission control regulations as the manufacturer claims.
According to the transfer order, the defendants and most of the plaintiffs agreed in centralizing the lawsuits in the Northern District of Illinois. It is the closest district court to Navistar Inc.‘s headquarters and was deemed an accessible and convenient transfer destination by the JPML. The lawsuits come from all over the country, with cases being centralized from district courts in Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
A number of the plaintiffs are seeking damages for breach of warranty, as they claim the engines were knowingly sold to them with defective equipment. If Navistar had been aware of the defects at the time of the sale, the failure to disclose those issues would breach the express and implied warranties in connection with the purchase. Many plaintiffs claim that the problems began soon after the warranty on the engine had run out.
One lawsuit against Navistar Inc. coming from Florida claims that the Maxxforce engine reaches dangerously high temperatures because of a defect that causes the improper air recirculation. This and other stresses on the engine allegedly lead to the necessity for constant repairs. The engine failures would affect sensors, valves, and cause breakdowns of the EGR system in addition to further engine complications. The claims from Florida also show that despite the need for multiple authorized repairs, Navistar Inc. has not to their knowledge attempted to correct the issues with the engine.
One possible explanation from claims filed in Maryland for the engine‘s flaws could be in relation to Navistar‘s public attempt to create the only truck engine solely reliant on EGR that still complied with EPA regulations. This feature was one of the premium selling points for the engine.
However, the claims in the lawsuits argue that Navistar learned that the engine did not comply with EPA standards as far back as 2008 and concealed that information from consumers. The improper recirculation of at the heart of the engine failure is an element cited in its failure to meet EPA standards. One of the claims originating in Florida also alleges that although Navistar Inc. abandoned the Advanced EGR technology in model year 2014, they have yet to attempt to fix the early model engine issues at the heart of the lawsuit.
One lawsuit that was not consolidated is still underway in Texas. The litigation in that particular case had gotten to the point that it was ruled transferring the case into multidistrict litigation would only delay its resolution. Information from that case is allowed to be brought before the court during the MDL proceedings for the other cases.