Sixth class action complaint filed against Caterpillar over ACERT engines

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 5/2/2014

A sixth class action lawsuit has been filed against Caterpillar Inc. over alleged defects with its C13 and C15 engines.

According to court documents, Scenic Boundaries Trans of Sandstone, Minn., claims it purchased at least six vehicles containing a model year 2007 CAT engine equipped with a Caterpillar Regeneration System – or CRS.

In its lawsuit filed in federal court in Minnesota on April 30, Scenic alleges that its trucks with the Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology (ACERT) diesel engines suddenly experience engine breakdowns because their engines shut down to regenerate or repower.

The trucks then have to be towed to a Caterpillar-authorized repair facility because the computer codes and software are proprietary. Scenic Boundaries claims it purchased the trucks to be compliant with the 2007 Environmental Protection Agency emission standard. The standard was enacted in 2001 to “provide engine manufacturers with the lead time” needed to effectively phase-in the exhaust emissions control technology that will be used to meet the new standard.

“In performing emission system warranty repairs, CAT acknowledges that the CRS failures detected are defects in material and workmanship in the 2007 CAT engines because the emissions warranty repairs are performed,” court documents allege.

The class includes those who bought or leased a truck with a 2007 CAT engine within the warranty and extended warranty period. According to the complaint, Scenic Boundaries and other class members began to incur significant damages in the decrease in the value of their vehicles because of problems with the engine’s regeneration system.

They also incurred expenses because they had to replace the 2007 CAT engines with other EPA 2007 emission standard compliant heavy-duty, on-highway diesel engines.

In late March, attorneys for Caterpillar Inc. asked a panel of federal judges to consolidate the other five class action lawsuits filed against the company over alleged defects with its C13 and C15 engines purchased between 2007 and 2010.

According to court documents, Caterpillar is requesting that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidate and transfer the cases to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District in Florida.

The five separate class actions against Caterpillar are pending in federal court in Florida, New Jersey, California, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.

Caterpillar stopped making the C13 and C15 ACERT engines, but still repairs them if they are under warranty. However, Caterpillar denies knowledge that the C13 and C15 truck and bus engines were defective.

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