Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Class Action Lawsuit

According to Boating-Industry.com and Detroit News , a national class-action lawsuit has been filed against Caterpillar Inc., in reponse to more than 7,000 allegedly defective engines produced since 1996.
The suit alleges certain Caterpillar engines contain defective aftercoolers, which allow water to enter the engines and mix with fumes, resulting in severe corrosion and engine failure, sometimes involving the engine exploding, the newspaper reported.
Caterpillar denies the allegations.
"We have requested an appeal of the certification decision," company spokeswoman Anne Leanos said in a prepared statement Friday quoted in the article. "We will continue to defend the case vigorously."

The main focus of the suit is the Caterpillar 3196, which the company has described as the ideal engine for yachts 40 to 60 feet long, according to the newspaper.

The suit was brought by Detroit businessman James Jaikins, who alleges that his Riviera 48 yacht contained two Caterpillar 3196 engines when a 2003 engine explosion and failure nearly stranded him between Florida and the Bahamas.

Jaikins says that when he started talking to other boat owners, he found his experience was not unique, alleging problems with the engines are the subject of widespread "dock talk" and are documented on Internet boat forums, the newspaper reported.

Jaikins’ attorney, Nathan Resnick, said the lawsuit was “a major consumer protection case—huge," according to the newspaper.
The Detroit News says that damages could exceed $100 million.

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