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Class action targets Caterpillar over product design defects

Minnesota is among 18 states represented in a recent class action lawsuit against the Caterpillar construction equipment company. The lawsuit alleges product design defects in some Caterpillar diesels that caused the plaintiffs to suffer financially. No fewer than 16 engine-related lawsuits against the company have preceded this one.

In this latest episode, Caterpillar installed new equipment supposedly designed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions (one of the contributors to smog pollution). However, a number of individuals as well as companies in the transportation and trucking industries claim that the poorly-designed products left their vehicles out of commission due to power losses. While Caterpillar marketing touted the reliability and durability of the fuel system, the plaintiffs point to known defects in the design that prevented the system from operating normally in compliance with environmental standards

In the class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs detail the losses suffered by their businesses as a result of Caterpillar's product design defects. An attorney representing the class noted that many are small, family businesses for which vehicle down time has a serious financial impact. In addition to the lost revenue, plaintiffs incurred costs to replace the engines and have seen the value of their vehicles diminish as well.

When individuals and businesses suffer such losses due to product design defects, product liability laws can provide an avenue for them to seek compensation for their losses. In cases like this, a class action may be appropriate, although it's by no means a prerequisite to seeking compensation. A legal professional can advise victims on how best to proceed.

Source: Truckinginfo, "Cat Slapped with Another Class Action Suit for ACERT Defects," Oct. 10, 2014

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