NY Fire District Sues Ferrara for $1 Million Over Problems With Aerial

A fire district in New York has filed suit against Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc. claiming a 2015 aerial platform ladder truck was defective. The East Fishkill Fire District filed suit last week in US District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking just over $1 million.

The suit contends that the truck has been so plagued with problems during the four-plus years since it was delivered it cannot be used. To get a sense of the allegations (but by no means all of them), here are some quotes:

  • On or about January 18, 2015, the Truck was delivered to Plaintiff in Hopewell Junction, New York.
  • Beginning in or about March 2015, Plaintiff began to experience problems with the Truck’s avoidance and anti-cab systems, which are directly related to the functioning and operation of the Truck’s bucket
  • On or about April 11, 2015, the Truck was returned from Neville after repairs were purportedly made to the Truck’s avoidance and anti-cab systems completed. However, the Truck’s check engine light was turned on and subsequently, the Truck was sent to Cummins Inc.
  • On or about April 15, 2015, the Truck was purportedly repaired at Cummins for problems with the intake manifold pressure.
  • On or about April 17, 2015, the Truck was returned to Plaintiff from Cummins.
  • On or about May 2, 2015, the Truck’s check engine light turned on again.
  • On or about May 4, 2015, Cummins informed Plaintiff that the check engine light was turned on due to an issue with the Truck’s avoidance system.
  • On or about July 6, 2015, the Truck left Hopewell Junction, New York for Nebraska, where the Smeal brand AL-11 avoidance system was to be installed.
  • In or about August 2015, the Truck was returned to Plaintiff in Hopewell Junction, New York from Louisiana.
  • In or before September 2015, Plaintiff began experiencing issues with the Truck’s manifold.
  • On or about September 29, 2015, the Truck returned from Little Ferry, New Jersey and the check engine light was turned on again.
  • On or about October 1, 2015, the air cooler in the Truck was replaced by authorized Ferrara technicians. However, such repair did not result in the shutting off of the check engine light.
  • On or about October 7, 2015, Plaintiff was advised by Ferrara to put the Truck back in service, while the reason for the chronic check engine light was diagnosed.
  • On or about October 30, 2015, Plaintiff received a notification that there was excessive pressure in the Truck’s exhaust system and the Truck was delivered back to Cummins for additional repairs.

The complaint details similar allegations for the remainder of the time period up to August 5, 2019. The suit alleges a violation of Louisiana’s implied warranty against redhibitory defects, as well as breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The redhibitory defects law grants a cause of action against a manufacturer when the items sold is “useless” to the buyer. Here is the law:


Art. 2520. Warranty against redhibitory defects

The seller warrants the buyer against redhibitory defects, or vices, in the thing sold.

A defect is redhibitory when it renders the thing useless, or its use so inconvenient that it must be presumed that a buyer would not have bought the thing had he known of the defect. The existence of such a defect gives a buyer the right to obtain rescission of the sale.

A defect is redhibitory also when, without rendering the thing totally useless, it diminishes its usefulness or its value so that it must be presumed that a buyer would still have bought it but for a lesser price. The existence of such a defect limits the right of a buyer to a reduction of the price.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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