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Posted: 9/28/2004 6:47:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2004 6:47:35 PM EDT by Spade]

SHALIMAR, Fla. (AP) - Ford Motor Co. can refuse to sell police cars to Florida law enforcement agencies that join a lawsuit against the auto maker over fuel tank fires, a judge has ruled.

Circuit Judge G. Robert Barron denied Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris' request that he order Ford to resume selling cars to his department Monday. Ford has refused to sell any more Crown Victoria Police Interceptors to Morris since July 2003, a year after he sued.

The suit claims the full-size, V-8 powered, four-door sedans have exploded in flames when struck from behind at high speed because of poor design, in some cases killing police officers.

Barron last month granted class-action status, permitting hundreds of Florida law enforcement agencies to join the lawsuit. No deadline for potential plaintiffs to join or opt out has been set.

With Barron's ruling in hand, Ford also will refuse to sell the cars to any other agency that participates in the suit, said company lawyer David Cannella.

"It's fundamentally illogical for Sheriff Morris to, on one hand, sue us and, on the other hand, seek the court to order (Ford) to sell him more vehicles," Cannella said.

Barron said case law establishes a company's right to refuse to do business with any customer.

Cannella participated in the hearing by telephone from his Orlando office because Hurricane Jeanne made it impossible to travel by air to the Florida Panhandle.

One of Morris' attorneys, Don Barrett, has said the sheriff firmly believes the Police Interceptors are defective but he wants to buy new ones to replace aging cars because seeking other vehicles would be more costly.

Barrett acknowledged the sheriff's request for an injunction was a long shot but a chance worth taking.

"They can't bully Sheriff Mmrris out of this lawsuit and they've been spectacularly unsuccessful," Barrett said.

Since Ford refused to sell the Police Interceptors, Morris has bought Ford Explorers and may start buying Chevrolet Impalas, which meet Florida Sheriffs Association vehicle safety standards, Barrett said.

Morris' lawyers say there have been 14 accidents nationwide in which Police Interceptors caught fire after being rear-ended. Ford attorneys argue that represents only .01 percent of Police Interceptors on the road. None of Morris' cars have been involved.

Ford also has installed protective shields on the back of the rear-wheel drive cars, which have gotten five-star crash ratings from federal vehicle-safety inspectors, company lawyers say.

Gotta love that it hasn't happened to The Sheriff's cars, but he sues anyway. And then tries to get more cars. What an ass.

This should also be a lesson to gun makers.
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 6:51:48 PM EDT
If they think ford is so unsafe they should sue why the fuck are trying to buy more?
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 6:58:03 PM EDT

Can I be on jury duty for this?
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 6:58:06 PM EDT
We have been told that the amount and type/weight of equipment we carry in the trunk prevents the vehicle's crumple zones from crushing correctly on impact thus causing the fuel tank to puncture and ignite. They have a fix which amounts to some sort of shield, I believe Kevlar, to prevent this.

Not sure I buy that explanation, but there sure is a lot of stuff kept in our trunks! If it is true, whose fault is it-Ford does design these cars for Police service-they know what can be carried in the trunk, then again, are we over crowding it? Tough question.

I think the Ford P71 CV is a better choice the the other vehicles out there, but that is just my opinion.

Any thoughts?
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 7:01:46 PM EDT
He has no right to force Ford to sell him anything. He can sue them, yes, but they can refuse him business.
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 7:01:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 7:04:36 PM EDT
If it is all the shit in the trunk causing the problem, it's the company installing that stuff that's at fault, not Ford. Ford can be asked to add reinforcements, but suing over something they have no control over is rediculous.

Of course Ford has deeper pockets than the squad car outfitter, and therefore are a more attract ive target.

Fucking lawsuit happy people piss me off.
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 7:05:05 PM EDT
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