DETROIT — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday asked the state's Supreme Court to hear a case against Ford Motor Co. alleging defective transmissions so the justices can revisit an interpretation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
The case, Cyr v. Ford, was filed in Wayne County -- home of Ford -- and was appealed to the Supreme Court, which originally declined to hear the case. Nessel is supporting a motion by the plaintiffs for the court to reconsider.
The plaintiffs say Ford violated the consumer act, alleging defective transmissions in Focus and Fiesta vehicles. The case involves more than 12,000 owners who opted out of a class action against Ford.
After a Wayne County judged ruled in the plaintiffs' favor, an appeals court sided with Ford, saying it was exempt from the act under a current interpretation that suggests members of any industry that is "generally regulated" are "specifically exempt."
Nessel wants the state's highest court to reconsider.
"For too long, the Supreme Court's erroneous interpretation has gutted this critical law and weakened this office's ability to help consumers," she said in a statement.
"It is time to breathe life back into the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and revive the law's original purpose, protecting Michigan's residents from unscrupulous businesses. I hope the Michigan Supreme Court recognizes this opportunity to right a wrong and will revisit its interpretation for the benefit of Michigan consumers."
Ford, in a statement, said it agreed with the high court's original decision not to take the case.
"Consumers should have protections," Ford said. "The Court of Appeals' unanimous ruling on the MCPA statutory exemption concluded they do under other existing statutes or regulations. The Michigan Supreme Court fully reviewed an application to appeal that decision and decided not to take the case. Ford believes this is the correct interpretation of the statute."