Jury awards Tennessee firm $30M in lawsuit against Navistar

A jury has awarded a Tennessee firm $30 million in a lawsuit against Navistar. Staff photo by Marshall Gorby
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A jury has awarded a Tennessee firm $30 million in a lawsuit against Navistar. Staff photo by Marshall Gorby

A Tennessee jury recently awarded about $30 million to a trucking firm that sued Navistar, arguing Navistar had failed to disclose that an older generation of its engines was sold with defects.

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Officials from Navistar said they have successfully defended similar claims in other jurisdictions, and are considering their options to challenge the jury’s decision.

The jury in Jackson, Tenn., awarded Milan Supply Chain Solutions about $10 million in actual damages and $20 million in punitive damages after finding Navistar had violated the Tennessee Consumer Practice Act, according to court documents.

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Milan had argued they purchased 243 Navistar Prostar trucks with Maxxforce engines, which the complaint said Navistar sold despite knowing the 13-liter engines were launched with known defects. In its complaint, Milan argues it soon began to experience numerous breakdowns in its trucks, specifically related to technology. Maxxforce was a line of engines for heavy-duty trucks that were later found to not meet emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Navistar’s headquarters is based in Illinois, but its Springfield plant is one of the largest employers in Clark County, where it employs more than 1,500 workers. Thousands of retirees also remain in the area.

Navistar officials said they have successfully defended similar claims in other states, including Texas, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, said Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for Navistar.

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“Navistar tested the MaxxForce 13 engine consistent with industry standards. They were tested for 12 million miles prior to launch under rigorous conditions, in test cells and on the road,” McMillan said in a statement. “At the time of the product launch, we were confident, based on this testing, that the product would perform. All products undergo continuous improvement throughout their lifecycle. When some parts unexpectedly failed, we fixed them under warranty for our customers, including Milan Supply. We’ve invested a significant amount of resources standing behind our products and supporting our customers.”