Kenneth Lowe Jan. 16, 2014, 11:35am

A woman has filed a class action lawsuit over what she alleges is a defective feature in the car she bought in March 2013.

Sandra Storto filed the suit Jan. 3 in Chicago's federal court against Ford Motor Co., seeking damages for alleged defects in the company's "MyFord Touch" operating system.

Storto is suing individually and on behalf of others who were sold the system as an option on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Ford is facing similar suits in other jurisdictions.

Designed by Microsoft, the touch-and voice-activated operating system was marketed as a feature that would synch with Apple devices like the iPhone, control the car's climate, provide navigational assistance and conduct hands-free phone calls, features that Storto claims in her suit regularly failed to perform as advertised.

"Many owners ... complain that the MyFord Touch system freezes up, stops working, the screen goes dark, the system does not respond to touch commands, fails to properly connect to the user's mobile phone often dropping calls, the navigation system fails to properly calculate routes, and despite contrary advertising interfaces poorly with Apple Computer products, among other problems," the suit states.

Storto also alleges that Ford knowingly sold a defective product and as such, deprived her and other owners of the system "a portion of the purchase price" of their vehicles.

According to the suit, Storto purchased a 2013 Ford Fusion SE from Al Piemonte Ford in Melrose Park in March, paying $1,795 for the MyFord Touch features.

She went to a Ford dealership in July and again in September, seeking help for problems with her system and claims that software patches and repeated manual system resets failed to resolve the issues and actually caused more troubles.

Storto asserts that she suffered a loss in value as a result of the system's defects and would not have paid additional money to purchase the system had she known it was defective.

The suit further argues that the system freezes also pose their own dangers.

"In addition, the MyFord Touch system, as a result of its freezes and blackouts, actually poses a safety risk because the driver becomes focused on the malfunctions or is unable to utilize various features that operate through the system, such as the 9-1-1 dial feature, the defrost function, and failure of the rear-view camera, to name a few, while the system is down or frozen," the suit states.

Storto seeks damages, attorneys fees and costs, as well as an injunction prohibiting Ford from continuing sales of MyFord Touch and requiring the company to put in place a recall or free replacement program.

In seeking certification of a class, Storto claims in her suit there could be "tens of thousands" of potential plaintiffs and that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million.

The suit proposes a national class that would include all persons or entities in the United States who are current or former owners or lessees of the vehicles in question and an Illinois class for those who purchased or leased the vehicles in the state.

It includes counts for unjust enrichment and violations of the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Storto is being represented by Vincent DiTommaso and Peter S. Lubin of DiTommaso Lubin in Oakbrook Terrace and Chicago attorney Alexander I. Arezina.

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