Background - Practices (Details)

Automotive Consumer Class Actions


We defend automotive manufacturers and components suppliers in consumer class actions alleging fraud, violation of contract and warranty, and unjust enrichment. These cases involve allegations of defective engines, transmissions, ignition switches, paint, accessory belts, seat belts, lift gates, theft deterrence devices and other components. We defeated class certification or obtained dismissal or settlement on favorable terms in the following cases.

  • Ignition Switch Litigation. We represented a major automobile component manufacturer in a series of nationwide product liability class actions involving an ignition switch used in Ford vehicles, stemming from what at the time was the second-largest automotive recall in U.S. history. We defeated class certification, thereby ending the mass litigation.
  • Automotive Rollover Litigation. We defeated class certification in a putative nationwide class action in Maryland state court. The proposed class included more than 400,000 past and present owners of certain models of four wheel drive sport utility vehicles.
  • Bridgestone/Firestone Recall Litigation. We were among the firms representing Bridgestone/ Firestone in its highly publicized tread separation litigation, including involvement in the leading automotive recall matter in the country and the consumer class action litigation that ensued. Crowell & Moring previously worked extensively as national coordinating counsel and trial counsel in automotive rollover cases and other major automotive product liability litigation. We were hired by Firestone to help develop its regulatory and litigation defense. We were responsible for the trial theme, expert, and evidence development, and worked closely with other trial teams around the country in these high-profile, "bet-the-company" cases.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car Class Actions. Enterprise Holdings, Inc. (EHI) was sued in a series of nationwide class actions in 2010, including Withrow v. EHI (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. W. VA) and Taylor v. EHI (U.S. Dis. Ct., C.D. Cal.), in which it was alleged that EHI failed to properly disclose the absence of allegedly standard side air bags in cars it rented and later sold. EHI achieved a very favorable settlement of one of the class actions that was filed in Missouri. Then, EHI successfully defended the settlement, and obtained dismissal of the remaining class actions.