September 30, 2016
Judge Permits Ford Class Action to Proceed for consumers & owners of Fords with problematic Dry Clutch PowerShift transmissions
Perram J of the Federal Court today ruled that the class action against Ford Australia for alleged faulty dry-clutch PowerShift transmissions can continue without requiring aggrieved car owners paying substantial up-front costs.
Lawyers running the class action against Ford Australia have described a Federal Court ruling this morning as a huge win: for both the owners of Ford cars with problematic PowerShift transmissions and Australian consumers more broadly.
Lawyers for Ford had applied for a $365,000 cost order from the class action’s lead plaintiff when the matter was last heard on 16th September. The Judge denied Ford Australia’s application for security for costs, which had potential to stifle the class action.
Charles Bannister, Founder of Bannister Law, said the costs order, now denied by the Judge, had the potential to be an oppressive burden to either the lead plaintiff or members of the class action, had the Court opted to spread the costs among the wider group.
“The Court recognised that our lead plaintiff did not have the capacity to pay the costs Ford had requested. The Court also recognised the difficulties and potential inequities in trying to collect those costs from other members of the Class,” said Mr. Bannister.
In the Judge’s ruling, he concluded “…if I were to order security to be provided in this case it would, for all intents and purposes, stifle the action.”
Mr. Bannister said “I hope we can now progress the case in a timely and efficient manner. Many consumers have been battling with Ford for years, seeking a resolution to the problems they’re experiencing with the dry PowerShift transmission. Many people are too scared to even drive their cars, fearing for their safety and that of their families. I think the parties should be working for a quick resolution.”
The Court also agreed to remove diesel models from the class action, as those models have a different type of transmission and are not affected.
Bannister Law is leading the class action against Ford Australia and its problematic dry clutch PowerShift transmission found in up to 70,000 Fiesta, Focus and EcoSport models throughout Australia.