Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Navistar MaxxForce Diesel Engine Emissions Settlement

Preliminary Approval Granted to Settlement in Navistar Diesel Engine EGR Emissions Defect Litigation

$135 million settlement provides class members with $2,500 per truck or $10,000 rebate off new truck, or option to seek up to $15,000 per truck in out of pocket damages caused by alleged defect

On June 12, 2019, Judge Joan B. Gottschall of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued an Order granting preliminary approval to a proposed settlement of multidistrict litigation brought on behalf of plaintiff truck owners and lessees alleging that Navistar, Inc. and Navistar International, Inc. sold or leased 2011-2014 model year vehicles equipped with certain MaxxForce 11- or 13-liter diesel engines equipped with a defective EGR emissions system. Judge Gottschall ruled that the proposed class action settlement which had been submitted to the Court on May 28, 2019, is likely to be approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate in addressing plaintiffs’ claims, and that the Court was also likely to certify the Settlement Class for purposes of implementing the settlement.

The Settlement Class is defined as: All entities and natural persons who owned or leased a 2011-2014 model year vehicle equipped with a MaxxForce 11- or 13-liter engine certified to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards without selective catalytic reduction technology, provided that vehicle was purchased or leased in any of the fifty (50) States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any other United States territory or possession.

The Settlement provides that members of the proposed Class can choose from three forms of relief for each Class Vehicle they own(ed) or lease(d): up to $2,500 cash or up to $10,000 rebate on a new Navistar truck with mere proof of ownership/lease, or up to $15,000 for documented costs relating to the alleged defect. The Court noted that if the settlement had not been reached, the defendants planned to “vigorously contest” class certification, and that plaintiffs’ chances at trial “would have been uncertain, as evidenced by the mixed record of prior jury verdicts regarding this same alleged defect.” In addition, the Court observed that the nationwide settlement would be superior to an alternative of many individual lawsuits, in part because class members who owned a small number of affected vehicles might not have suffered sufficient damages to justify the costs of expensive, expert-heavy litigation. The Court further noted that if the smaller number of members of the proposed Class with higher potential damages won significant verdicts, they might deprive remaining Class Members of compensation. “The nationwide Settlement ensures that all Class Members will have the opportunity to be compensated,” it concluded.

The Court further ordered that notice of the Settlement be disseminated as soon as practicable to all class members reasonably identifiable. Any class members wishing to object to the Settlement will have to do so in writing within 60 days of publication of notice of the Settlement. The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on November 13, 2019 to make a final determination on Settlement approval.

Learn more about the Navistar MaxxForce Diesel Engines product defect litigation.