Q: Am I a Class Member even though I was not a plaintiff in Vargas, et al. v. Ford Motor Company?
With the recent Ford Class Action (Vargas, et al. v. Ford Motor Company) reaching a Settlement, I hope it's finally time to get rid of my problematic 2011 Ford Fiesta while Ford pays for it (it's currently at the dealership right now with transmission issues for about the 4th or 5th time). However, I'm not sure if I needed to be directly involved in said lawsuit to receive compensation; I don't know if I'm a "Class Member".
Also, the arbitration form (https://kccsecure.com/fordtransmissionsettlement/Claimant/ArbitrationNoticeForm) asks if I'll "be represented in arbitration by an attorney with respect to [my] Claim for Repurchase/Replacement or Breach of Express Warranty", and I'm wondering what that question really implicates in regards to the handling (for lack of a better term) of the arbitration itself--e.g. partial (biased) arbitrator, downplaying/under-compensating, etc.
What is my best course of action from here?
A: You are a member of the class, and thus entitled to participate in the benefits of the settlement if you meet the class definition. You do not NEED to be a plaintiff in order to participate in most class actions in the United States.
The definition in this case is:
You are a Class Member if you are a person, entity, or organization who currently resides in the United States (including its territories), and you purchase(d), or lease(d) a 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta or 2012-2016 Ford Focus equipped with a PowerShift Transmission that was originally sold by Ford in the United States or its territories.
The following are not included in the Settlement: (1) owners or lessees of Class Vehicles who have filed and served litigation against Ford alleging problems with the PowerShift Transmission in Class Vehicles that was pending as of the Notice Date and who do not dismiss their actions before final judgment and affirmatively elect to opt in to the Settlement; (2) Ford’s officers, directors, employees, affiliates and affiliates’ officers, directors and employees, their distributors and distributors’ officers, directors, and employees, and Ford Dealers and Ford Dealers’ officers and directors; (3) judicial officers and immediate family members assigned to the Actions or any judicial officers who may hear the appeal; (4) all parties to litigation against Ford alleging problems with the PowerShift Transmission in Class Vehicles in which final judgment has been entered; and (5) all entities and natural persons who have previously executed and delivered to Ford releases of their claims based on the PowerShift Transmission.
You can find the full notice, which will answer many questions, here:
If you have additional questions about the case, please contact the lead lawyers in the case:
Capstone Law APC
1875 Century Park E., Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: (855) 310-9583
You can also speak to a local attorney that specialized in Lemon Law cases to discuss your rights. Most will offer a free consultation. Be prepared with a written chronology of the issues you had with the car as well as copies of your service records if available.
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