Panoramic Sunroof Issues Lands Ford in Court

Last week Ford Motor Company (Ford) drivers, Jacob and Jessica Beaty, asked the Washington Federal Court to provide them with certain documents the automaker claims contains confidential information in the Beaty v. Ford exploding sunroof lawsuit. Ford doesn’t want certain documents and testimony made public because it claims it contains proprietary information. The Washington Federal Judge has yet to enter a response.

Jacob and Jessica Beaty filed a lawsuit against Ford, and its two divisions, Lincoln Motor Company and Mercury (collectively Ford), in March 2017, where they alleged Ford was aware of its defective sunroofs as far back as the late 2000’s.

The Beaty’s, who purchased a new 2013 Ford Escape with the “power panoramic vista roof” in September 2012, according to court documents, based their decision to buy the SUV on its safety features and panoramic sunroof. In February 2017 Jessica Beaty was driving home with their daughter in the backseat when the sunroof “spontaneously shattered,” which caused scratches on both of their hands and faces, according to court documents.

“Ford has failed to meet these engineering challenges, as is evidenced by its own panoramic sunroofs’ propensity to spontaneously shatter (referred to herein as the defect). Unlike several manufacturers that have issued safety recalls, Ford has not recalled its defective panoramic sunroofs,” a portion of the complaint reads.

The Beaty’s, along with several other Ford vehicle owners, stated hazardous conditions while operating the company’s vehicles due to the alleged design defect. According to court documents, the shattering was so powerful startled drivers compared it to the sound of a gunshot.

“… Glass fragments would often rain down upon the occupants of the vehicle, sometimes while driving at highway speeds,” the Beaty’s stated in court documents.

After the lawsuit was filed Ford argued that its disclaimers and other language found in its warranty shielded it from having liability on the Beaty’s broken sunroof. The Beaty’s rejected Ford’s “warranty language” in their filed response.

“Ford’s suggestion that it satisfied any duty through warranty language stating its vehicles may ‘chip, scratch, crack, or break’ wholly misses the mark,” a portion of the Beaty’s filed response reads.

The automotive manufacturer responded by arguing and alleging the Beaty’s “greatly exaggerate[d] how often Ford’s panoramic sunroof glass breaks under what they describe as normal conditions.” Ford also argued against the Beatys’ claim that it had a “duty to disclose the alleged defect,” insisting the couple bought one of the first Escape SUVs with the panoramic sunroof, and therefore the company didn’t have any information regarding any glass breaking, according to court documents. Court documents also show Ford claiming the Beaty’s sunroof didn’t spontaneously break because it was hit by a rock.

The Beaty’s continue to make allegations that state Ford was aware of the aforementioned defect while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was investigating the company in 2012.

“By concealing its knowledge of the defect from NHTSA regulators and the public at large, Ford is able to sell vehicles with luxury upgrade at prices normally charged for non-defective vehicles. Ford thus profited, and continues to profit, at the expense of plaintiffs and other customers, who received defective vehicles worth less than the non-defective vehicles for which they had bargained,” a portion of court documents reads.

The two year legal battle between the Beaty’s and Ford shows no sign of slowing down, as both parties are currently fighting over whether or not certain testimony and documents will be made public. The Federal Judge has yet to enter a response.

Look to future editions for more information on this lawsuit.

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23 Responses to Panoramic Sunroof Issues Lands Ford in Court

  1. Pingback: Ford Lawsuit Focuses On Shattering Sunroofs

  2. Josh says:

    Have a 2016 f150 just hard a loud noise from sunroof(not the first time) now sunroof will not close all the way and also glass is cracked on top of panel headed to dealership tomorrow!

  3. Martha Sobel says:

    My son’s 2014 Escape Titanium sunroof exploded last week while driving on an interstate in Denver. He said it sounded like a shotgun blast with glass flying everywhere. Thank God he didn’t have an accident during this event.
    He used to work on the assembly line at Ford making the Escapes in Louisville and is shocked that it exploded but not totally surprised.

  4. Mike Davidson says:

    I’ve been a Ford Guy for many years. Today was a disappointing day. Two weeks ago the panoramic sunroof, a stationary body part, flew out of the roof and landed in the freeway. Fortunately no one was hurt. The van is only four years old. It’s a $4700 replacement cost. The dealer, not Ford has offered to goodwill $2000. Can’t believe that a four year old body part falls off and Ford says so sorry to bad. Will be rethinking my recommendations of Ford products due to the customer service experience with the representative.

  5. Ernie Haas says:

    My sunroof 2018 f150 platinum just exploded today on the interstate.
    It sounded like i was hit by another vehicle but did not feel anything lucky the headliner was closed and caught the shattered mess.
    Took it to the ford dealer and i am having it repaired by insurance.Lucky i have no deductible on comprehensive and they put me in a rental untill fixed they say 3 to 5 days.

  6. Daniel Akey says:

    On Friday 05/15/2020 the rear stationary part of my panoramic sunroof exploded with what sounded like a gunshot in a not so good area on the southside of Chicago. I did head for the police station just to be on the safe side. Is their any current updates to the lawsuit?

    • Carlos Sallave says:

      12/29/20 My 2019 Ford Raptor stationary part of the sunroof exploded in the middle of driving on highway I-25. I only have 16K miles on this thing! I went directly to the dealer because it was on my way home, they looked at it and said only the front glass is covered by warranty? And I should call my insurance to get it fixed.

  7. Gene says:

    Has anyone had any trouble with Fords sunroof opening on it’s own and staying open?

  8. Doug Pickard says:

    My wife bought a 2019 Ford Edge in December of 2019. On June 11 th of 2020 she went to the parking lot where she works and found the panoramic roof had blown outwards and left glass on the vehicle and inside as well. Prime auto group of Sack Maine service advisor said that he had no knowledge of this ever happening before. This is going to make me think about buying anything Ford now….. It also sounds like they expect me to pay for it. It only has about 8000 miles on it.

  9. Josh says:

    My 2019 f150 panoramic roof exploded today while i was driving down an empty interstate. No sign of anything hitting it, and now I’m fighting the dealership. I have owned this truck 2 months and has 3000 miles. Is there a suit that can be signed onto because this is ridiculous! I just want it fixed and I am not responsible for it.

  10. Greg says:

    Just had the front section of my panoramic sunroof shatter while driving on an interstate highway in clear weather and without any vehicles around us. The sunscreen caught the loose pieces. The explosion was shocking but we pulled over safely. This is a six month old 2019 Ford Raptor. Will see what the dealer says.

  11. Shawna says:

    2020 escape titanium less the one month old sunroof wont close in extreme heat.

  12. My sunroof was closed on my 2006 Ford F350 and did the exact same thing going 70 mph down the freeway just yesterday. Luckily nobody was hurt, but it’s shattered, blew off on the highway and hot glass inside the cab! This is a serious safety issue Ford needs to address. Someone could get seriously hurt…

  13. Ty Browne says:

    My 2019 f350 platinum forward section of the sunroof spiderweb cracked today. Sounded like a gunshot. Scared the crap out of me. Slow speed. No one around thankfully. I’m pretty upset about it. Glad glass hasn’t fallen out “yet” … Will be in the dealership tomorrow!

  14. C Abbott says:

    We have a 2016 Ford Edge with about 6,000 miles. We just happened to open the sunroof in the driveway and noticed it has spiderweb cracking in the sunroof. It’s always closed so we have no idea when it happened. Never heard anything while driving. Contacted the Ford dealer who we sent photos to and they sent on for Ford. Ford refuses to cover it. I think this is an issue with panoramic sunroofs and they refuse to acknowledge this is a problem.

  15. My 2011 Edge Limited sunroof won’t close. While parked in my driveway with the roof open I attempted to close it and heard a pop and discovered it would not close because clips broke off. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that the glass didn’t shatter but now looking at a $1000. Repair.

  16. Jana Wilson says:

    My 2019 Ford Expedition Max sunroof broke as I was driving down the highway. Sounded like a gunshot to the car. I slowed down, checked the windows and then noticed the front part of the panoramic sunroof was shattered. I add m now in the beginning stages of repair and compensation.

    • Adrianne Wood says:

      Just curious how did ford handle your cracked sunroof? I have a 2018 ford expedition Platinum max and my sunroof has a crack all the way across the glass. I’m certain nothing hit it so it just cracked and its getting worse.

  17. Beverly Adams-Gordon says:

    Today, I was driving my 2011 Ford Escape at 60 miles per hour with my 88 year old mother in the passenger side and my grand daughter in the back seat. While, a 2011, this care onlyu has 45,000 miles on it. We were driving in 40 degree weather following days of freezing and snow, when we heard a huge noice like a gun shot hitting a metal sign, and were startled. Later that day I kept hearing a rattling every time I came to a stop or a door was openned and closed. The inner sun roof was cloased, I finally determined the sound was coming from the roof, and slowly openned the sun roof where I found the sunroof shattered with a missing section. I was driving on a clear dry road — My husband assumed a rock from another vehicle hit it, but when we heard the noise there were no other vehicle was near us. What is the update on this lawsuit, Is Ford admittting to this issue now. (Had a Ford 1986 Escort that had a side window explode due to a defect! So I know this can happen — they denied that one at first and later it was found that they were at fault.)

  18. Philip OByrne says:

    Hi Guys, just wanted to add here its not just down to Ford US either, and certainly not even if car is in use on the road, My 11mth old Ford Focus ST line with panoramic roof exploded on my driveway yesterday, I was sat just inside window and saw it happen, glass was accelerated into the air at least 10ft high showering the car completely in broken glass. I haven’t used car in 2 days and I am based in Ireland, we have no extreme weather changes and stable 10Deg C for last few days. the shatter line is completely around the seal surface to the glass and several stress cracks are visible from running perpendicular to B and A pillars, in my opinion it came about from the vehicle body de-stressing after been parked for a while whilst in conjunction with a poor quality glass part, the glass that ford use seems to be a lot thinner than most other manufacturers. Car is in now with ford dealer to access i’m awaiting reply, full insurance including accidental glass cover and low and behold dosen’t cover panoramic roofs, Mhhh wonder why insurance dosen’t cover such an item? maybe its because they know they are high risk!

  19. Kaitlin says:

    Today I was stopped at a red light and I heard a loud boom and heard a lot of cracking. Parked to find my sunroof had totally busted. Not hit by anything. Just exploded. It’s a 2019 Ford Edge Platinum. So thankful everything was closed so the cloth shade kept it out of the car. No extreme weather changes to cause this.

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