Suit Alleges Lemon Law Violation Over Defective $1.4 Million Aerial Platform

An Illinois fire department has filed suit against Seagrave Fire Apparatus, LLC, alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, and violation of the state’s “lemon law” due to problems with a new 105-foot Apollo aerial platform. The Lockport Township Fire Protection District filed suit today in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The Seagrave Model TP7KCT Marauder 105’ Apollo Quint Rear Mount Platform was ordered in 2020, along with a Seagraves Marauder Pumper. The aerial platform was delivered in March of 2022, but has been plagued with a number of mechanical problems outlined in the complaint. These include:

  • On April 10, 2022, the ladder failed to be stowed properly. Additionally, the raise and lower valve handle failed.
  • The following day, after setup, an outrigger drifted, twisting the pin—causing 360° rotation at approximately 70’ ladder extension, 50° incline, with two men in the air. LTFPD immediately suspended training.
  • On April 14, 2022, LTFPD held conference call with Seagrave to discuss issues. Seagrave blamed hydraulic issues—correctible with programing.
  • One week later, Emergency Vehicle Technician and Fleet Mechanic Brian Fisher (“Fisher”) and Seagrave identified sensor issues and adjusted the programing. However, they were unsuccessful in recreating April 11, 2022 drift issue.
  • On April 22, 2022, training resumed.
  • The following day, while operating the lift from side to side, the “green” light that indicates that the outrigger is planted would not illuminate. Upon further testing and inspection, Fisher thought the problem was resolved; however, he quickly noticed puddle(s) of hydraulic fluid on the garage floor apron.
  • On April 27, 2022, the Apollo platform was returned to Seagrave to be inspected.
  • After two weeks, repairs were made and the Apollo platform was returned.
  • On May 16, 2022, Fisher advised LTFPD repairs were done and the training continued.
  • On June 2, 2022, the Apollo platform went into full service.
  • On June 8, 2022, LTFPD found broken wear pads and old bolts that were left in outrigger channel(s).
  • On June 14, 2022, Fisher, who was replacing faulty sensors, found motor bolts to be “hand-tight.” LTFPD cut off the Apollo platform from service indefinitely.

On June 17, 2022, Fire Chief John O’ Connor informed Seagrave that LTFPD considered the device to be “unsafe and inoperable for use” and sought to return it for a full refund of $1,369,220.00. The President and CEO of Seagrave, Ulisses D. Parmeziani, disagreed that the device was unsafe or inoperable, but offered to repurchase truck for “fair market value.”

LTFPD engaged legal counsel and countered by demanding that Seagrave:

  • accept return of Apollo platform and refund $1,369,220.00 for the Apollo platform; or
  • deliver Apollo platform to an agreed upon qualified third- party inspector to be paid at Seagrave’s expense; agreed to pay the repair bills/costs to be completed by an independent vendor; return Apollo platform to LTFPD at Seagrave’s expense; extend Seagrave Limited Warranty three (3) years from date all issues are resolved; reimburse LTFPD for their legal bills incurred.

According to the complaint, when Seagrave failed to respond to the attorney’s demands, they opted to file suit. The four count complaint alleges breach of contract, breach of express warranty under 810 ILCS 5/2-313, breach of express warranty of material and workmanship, and breach of Illinois’ New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act (815 ILCS 380).

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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