Lawsuit filed over Cat engines

Attorneys for the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC announced the firm has filed a new lawsuit against Caterpillar over its heavy-duty, on-highway diesel engines.

The class-action suit, which includes 22 trucking and transportation firms and individuals in 18 states that purchased or leased vehicles powered by the engines, alleges that problems with “engine exhaust emissions systems resulted in power losses and shutdowns that prevented or impeded [plaintiffs’] vehicles from transporting goods or passengers.”

The engines involved at C-13 and C-15 models sold from 2007 through 2010.

According to co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Theodore Leopold the plaintiffs “incurred significant damages from the defective engine exhaust emission system in terms of operational losses, diminished vehicle value, and the cost of replacing the Cat engines with other EPA 2007 emissions standards-compliant heavy-duty, on-highway diesel engines.”

“Many of these trucking and transportation operations are small businesses and family-owned shops that can’t afford to have trucks break down due to defects,” said Leopold.  “Having their trucks out of commission created a financial hardship for these operators that Caterpillar has a responsibility to resolve, including the significant loss in value of the trucks due to the defects.”

The consolidated complaint was filed under seal on Oct. 6, 2014, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Leopold said. According to the law firm, the “Cat engines’ system was not designed, built and equipped to conform with exhaust emission regulation standards without causing repeated engine failures or shut down commands that caused the vehicles to lose power and/or shut down.”

The engines were designed with Cat’s ACERT (Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology) systems, the law firm said, to meet 2007 EPA emissions standards. The lawsuit alleges that while the design was marketed as a reliable, durable and fuel-efficient system, the engines are, in fact, defective and have been marketed and distributed under false pretenses. 

“Each time their vehicle had problems, these plaintiffs repeatedly were told that an emissions warranty repair would correct the defect, when CAT knew, or should have known, that the exhaust emission system defect could not be corrected,” said Leopold. 

The same issues are also being litigated on behalf of defective C-13 Caterpillar bus engines that involve the same defective ACERT systems.  The bus litigation is pending in the same New Jersey Federal Court.

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