Ford faces lawsuit over alleged design defect of gas pedals

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Ford owners in 14 states

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DETROIT - Attorneys involved in a multi-state lawsuit against Ford Motor Company tell USA Today that 2002-10 Ford vehicles contain a "design defect" in the electronic control of the gas pedals, make them susceptible to sudden, unintended acceleration.

The newspaper reports the suit was filed on behalf of Ford owners in 14 states, and is seeking class-action status.

"For too long, Ford has put its own financial interests ahead of its consumers' safety," says Chicago-based attorney Adam Levitt, one of the lawyers leading the litigation. "We hope this lawsuit sheds light on this important situation and requires Ford to correct its ways, compensate its customers and put them first."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages for the lost value of the affected cars -- the difference between what they paid for the cars vs. the value of the defective vehicles. The lawsuit also asks Ford to "fix the problem."

Lawyers involved in the case told USA TODAY in late March that most Ford owners probably don't realize their cars could take off on their own.

The suit cites a 2011 report by the Transportation Departments inspector general that showed Ford had the same number of deaths and injuries from these electronic throttle controls as Toyota: 374 from 2003 through 2009.

Ford released a statement on March 28th that said, "NHTSA has investigated alleged unintended accelerations many times over many years and has concluded that driver error is the predominant cause of these events. NHTSA's work is far more scientific and trustworthy than work done by personal injury lawyers and their paid experts. In rare situations, vehicle factors, such as floor mats or broken mechanical components, can interfere with proper throttle operation, and manufacturers have addressed these rare events in field service actions."

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