Lawsuit Filed over Navistar Allegedly Defective Engines, Brakes

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Navistar Faces Another Racketeering Lawsuit over Allegedly Defective Diesel Engines

Litigation is growing against truck and bus manufacturer Navistar. Recently, a new racketeering lawsuit was filed against the company alleging that it sold school buses despite knowing that the engines were defective. The Illinois-based company is involved in various legal troubles, including a multidistrict litigation (MDL) established in 2014.

Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience representing clients in product liability lawsuits involving allegedly defective or dangerous products. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a product defect lawsuit.

According to Law360, the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiff is B&L Transportation Inc., a company that provides transportation to school districts in Louisiana. The suit alleges that Navistar intentionally sold buses with defective MaxxForce 7-liter diesel engines and brakes. The faulty parts were expensive to repair, the suit states.

“Taking advantage of Navistar’s continuing, deliberate and fraudulent public misrepresentations as to the purported quality of the defective engines, and the deliberate concealment of the defects in the defective brake systems, Navistar’s authorized dealers continued selling the … vehicles, reaping the monetary benefit of the resulting sales proceeds in return for their not disclosing the vehicles’ known defects and/or not revealing Navistar’s … fraud on the investing and vehicle-purchasing public,” the complaint states, according to Law360.

The lawsuit alleges that Navistar installed its defective engines into the buses. Plaintiffs also allege that the company installed faulty third-party braking systems. According to the complaint, the defects stem from Navistar attempting to meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The suit alleges Navistar violated the racketeering statute by committing wire fraud in its securities filings, Law360 reports.

The suit alleges fraud, breach of warranty and violations of Louisiana product liability law.

Navistar Engine Defect MDL and Legal Troubles

In December 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated 13 lawsuits alleging that Navistar’s Maxxforce diesel engines are defective. Suits were consolidated before Judge Joan B. Gottschall of the Northern District of Illinois.

Among other things, plaintiffs alleged that engine defects lead to overheating and engine failure. Lawsuits also allege that Navistar engines fail to comply with EPA standards for exhaust emission controls.

The JPML establishes MDLs when there are multiple lawsuits with common factual allegations. Consolidating pretrial proceedings make the litigation move along faster because it eliminates duplicate procedures and streamlines the process. In an MDL, similar lawsuits are grouped together in one court before one judge.

In choosing Illinois, JPML said “This district, which is supported by both defendants and a majority of the plaintiffs, is a convenient and accessible forum with the resources to devote to this litigation,” according to Law360.

Navistar engine defect lawsuits were filed in Illinois, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

One lawsuit was filed on behalf of Priority Towing Inc. The Florida-based company alleges that Navistar’s engines recirculate air; this alleged defect raises the temperature and leads to engine failure. The plaintiff alleges costly repairs due to the defect. The class action alleges that Navistar has failed to address the issue.

Another lawsuit was filed on behalf of Western Maryland Transport Inc. Allegedly, the company marketed itself as being the only heavy-duty truck company whose EGR systems meet EPA standards. However, the suit alleges that Navistar knew as early as 2008 that its engines do not meet these standards.

Four of the transferred lawsuits were class actions. A class action lawsuit is when one complaint represents an entire group of plaintiffs who allege being wronged by a common defendant in the same way. Class action lawsuits are often filed when individual claims would be too small to pursue on their own.

In an MDL or other mass tort, lawsuits are grouped together but complaints remain separate.
Last March, Navistar agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the company misled investors. Navistar resolved the allegations without admitting wrongdoing.

“The SEC alleges that Navistar and Ustian failed to fully disclose the company’s difficulties obtaining Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification of a truck engine able to meet stricter EPA Clean Air Act standards that took effect in 2010,” the release states. “Navistar and Ustian also are alleged to have repeatedly misled investors about Navistar’s development of the engine, which used exhaust-gas-recirculation (EGR) technology.”

Filing a Product Defect Lawsuit

If you or someone you know is interested in filing a lawsuit involving a defective product, contact one of our product liability lawyers today. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).