Frequently Asked Questions
We have received a wide range of questions, most of which surround some general topics or themes. Below are some very simple explanations for how and why we are bringing this lawsuit against Ford:
About this Effort
What is this lawsuit about?
This is a mass, aggregate lawsuit against Ford for faulty PowerShift transmissions in Focus and Fiesta vehicles, and for the chronic failure rates of automatic transmissions in the Fusion line of vehicles.
Is this a class action?
No. This is a mass, aggregate action. In short, a mass, aggregate action collects a number of current/former vehicle owners, and lessees (in this case thousands) and ‘buckets’ them together into similar case groups based on year, make and model, to file as a ‘mass.’
Sounds like a class action...
The difference is that each individual claim in a mass, aggregate action is resolved in a customized fashion based on the owners specific damage and that our fees, under Federal law, are fully paid by Ford as part of ‘fee-shifting.’ That’s right; we do not receive a percentage of your award. Our fees are paid separately by Ford.
Basically, a class action seeks a single solution for everyone’s problem. With the Ford Fiesta, Focus and Fusion vehicles, there are many different circumstances making a single, ‘catch-all’ solution impractical and not, in our opinion, always in the owner’s best interest. Some Ford owners or lessees have suffered greatly with multiple repairs that have been ineffective, leaving them with a defect that can be dangerous, or sold their cars out of frustration for a loss to avoid further risk. Others have suffered financially from ineffective repairs or simply due to a desire to get out from under their vehicle. Still others want and deserve compensation for the serious drop in the resale value of their car. In our mass, aggregate action, the merits of each individual claim are evaluated for their worth. While a class action may seek to get each class member ‘one more repair and a $200 coupon towards a new Ford vehicle, the only people who benefit in a class action tend to be Ford and the lawyers involved.
How is a mass, aggregate action different than a class action?
Who are you?
We are Stern Law, PLLC, a law firm that has worked on behalf of individuals who have suffered devastating consequences due to negligence for over three decades. We are involved in cases that require extensive preparation and no fees without success. Ultimately, we do legal work that betters people’s lives and we are proud to do it.
About the Retainer
I see that ‘no fee’ is bold and underlined in the document…
That’s because we feel this is an important point. We will represent clients using existing Federal consumer protection laws that allow for us to bill Ford for our fees and costs. This means that this mass, aggregate action will make Ford responsible for our fees and costs; not you.
So you’ll be taking your fees out of what we earn?
No. It will be a bill sent to Ford by the attorneys. If your award is X, and our fees are Y, Ford will be paying X and Y separately.
Why are there details about fees becoming more than the settlement?
This is transparency on our part to explain to clients how we will be billing Ford, not you.
Can I have it in writing that you will not be billing me for representing me and that you will not be taking your fees out of an award filed under Moss Magnuson and/or state lemon laws?
You're correct. We will not bill you for representing you. Ford pays our fees, not you.
Why does the retainer/DocuSign request my social security number?
This is to verify your identity through electronic means. If you do not feel comfortable providing your SSN, simply use 555-55-5555. Be aware that, if the Court or attorneys require it, you may eventually need to provide this information at a later date.
Why are there two law firms listed?
We have partnered with another law firm to combine our experience and resources to help the thousands of Ford owners who have contacted us. Doing so helps pool decades of legal knowledge for the betterment of our clients. You pay nothing for having two firms represent you here. Ford pays all legal fees.
What do I need to do?
First, you need to fill out our on-line form detailing your vehicle’s issues and providing your contact information. From there, we will call to conduct a very brief interview regarding the specifics of the issues with your vehicle. With that information, we will send you a retainer agreement that allows us to represent you in our mass, aggregate action against Ford. A questionnaire will later be sent that gathers the specific details about your vehicle (VIN, repair dates, etc.). Finally, you will be notified when we file on your behalf. Throughout this process, we ask that clients send repair documentation to our offices through Fax, Email or Mail.
Novi, MI 48375
41850 W 11 Mile Rd, Suite 121
Email: Auto @ sternlawonline.com
I haven’t heard from you!
This means one of a few things: (1) the information we have for you is incorrect due to transcription error or some other unknown circumstance; (2) you may have been avoiding our calls or believing we are telemarketers or the like; (3) our emails have gone to your Junk or Spam folder; or (4) we have all of the information we need to move forward and you are between one of the steps detailed above. Retainer agreements were first sent out in late December, 2016, and will continue to be sent out in rapid succession as we receive claims. Questionnaires will be sent out mid-January. We expect to file in the first quarter of 2017.
What sort of outcome can I expect?
Our ultimate goal is for maximum compensation for each deserving owner. However, each owner’s desires and damages differ: some may want fair value for their vehicle as a trade-in toward a different Ford vehicle, while another may want a cash payment for a different car. Still others may simply want to keep their car and want the depreciation they’ve absorbed. This is why a mass, aggregate action is effective, and why a class action approach will struggle to achieve complete justice - the resolutions with our mass, aggregate action are always individually based.