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caterpillar-engines

Caterpillar Selling Faulty Engines

Caterpillar Inc. faces at least 15 lawsuits over allegations that engines for trucks, charter buses and school buses it sold between 2006 and 2010 were prone to regular breakdowns and in some cases caught fire.


Miller Weisbrod brought suit on behalf of 45 companies in 15 lawsuits in over a dozen states arising out of the same defect. These cases related to Heavy Duty trucks (“18 wheelers”). After a year of fast-paced litigation and trial preparation, Miller Weisbrod and Caterpillar negotiated a confidential global settlement for all of the clients in December of 2011. This settlement was reached a few months before the start of the bellwether trial that was set in Federal Court in Davenport, Iowa.


Faced with high costs and a small market share, Caterpillar stopped making truck and bus engines for the U.S. market four years ago. Since then, it has faced a series of lawsuits over those engines, several filed in recent months. In various suits, owners of buses and trucks say faulty emission-control systems in the Caterpillar engines caused them to break down frequently, stranding vehicles until they could be towed to repair shops.


Caterpillar bus-engine problems delayed minor-league baseball teams for hours and left senior citizens sweating on roadsides, said Jeff Polzien, owner of Red Carpet Charters, an Oklahoma City company that is suing Caterpillar for damages.


The suits are a potential costly embarrassment for a company who has built a reputation on the reliability of its products. Therefore, CAT has settled with plaintiffs in one lawsuit, paying $46 million to settle claims that a ship fire in Alabama was sparked by one of its defective engines.


Last year, CAT paid $900,000 to a Texas school district to settle a suit over bus engines. The owner of Minnesota-based CH Bus Sales said that he ordered 60 buses with CAT engines seven years ago, but that many of the buses couldn’t be dispatched on long trips due to unreliability. He also said that two buses were destroyed by engine fires.


It isn't clear how much the litigation will ultimately cost Caterpillar. A suit filed by Harmon Brothers Charter Services Inc. of Union City, Ga., in U.S. District Court in Atlanta alleged that Caterpillar "has paid tens of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits brought by large fleet dealers (or other well-financed adversaries) relating to defects" with the engines.

Contact Miller Weisbrod

We offer sound legal advice, experienced representation and dedicated advocacy to victims of defective engines. For more information, we invite you to contact our offices in Dallas at 888.987.0005 to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced trial lawyers.