Caterpillar Faces Sixth Class Action Alleging Engine Defect

Caterpillar Faces Sixth Class Action Alleging Engine Defect Photo: Caterpillar. Caterpillar C15 engine.

Caterpillar Inc. now faces a sixth proposed class action alleging the company’s heavy-duty diesel engines that power freight-hauling trucks have faulty emission-control systems that have caused sudden engine breakdowns.

The latest case is Scenic Boundaries Trans. Inc. v. Caterpillar Inc., filed on April 30 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Last month, Caterpillar asked a panel of federal judges to consolidate the other five, which allege the same defects in the company’s C13 and C15 engines, and requested the cases be transferred to federal court in the Southern District of Florida.

The MY2007 CAT engines in each case were manufactured to comply with 2007 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards designed to reduce air pollution. The source of the engine problems, according to the class complaints, is the defective Caterpillar Regeneration System.

Sandstone, Minn., trucking firm Scenic Boundaries alleges that, even after repeated repairs and replacements, the engines remain subject to abruptly shutting down because of the CRS defects, due to a “myriad of system failures.”

Compounding the problem, the complaint says, is the need to tow the broken-down trucks only to Caterpillar-authorized repair shops, because the software and other equipment needed to fix them are proprietary.

The plaintiffs accuse Caterpillar of breach of express and implied warranties, fraudulent concealment, and violations of Minnesota’s deceptive trade practices and consumer fraud acts.

Representing the plaintiffs are Garrett Blanchfield and Roberta Yard of Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield, St. Paul, Minn.; Richard Burke and Jamie Weiss of Complex Litigation Group, Highland Park, Ill.; and Jonathan Shub of Seeger Weiss, Philadelphia.

Lisa Hoffman contributes to law.com.

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