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Judge: Ford Can Refuse to Sell Cars to Police in Lawsuit

October 6, 2004

SHALIMAR, FL – Florida law enforcement agencies involved in a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. cannot force the automaker to sell police cars to them, a judge ruled, according to the Associated Press.The lawsuit deals with fuel tank fires and claims that the full-size, V-8 powered, four-door sedans are poorly designed and can catch fire when struck from behind at high speeds.Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris requested that Ford be ordered to resume selling cars to the department. Ford has refused to sell any more Crown Victoria Police Interceptors to Morris since July 2003, a year after he sued. Circuit Judge G. Robert Barron denied the request, but did grant class-action status to the lawsuit in August. According to the AP, Barron said that case law establishes a company’s right to refuse to do business with any customer.Ford will continue to refuse to sell the police cars to other agencies that participate in the suit, said David Cannella, a lawyer for Ford. “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,” added Cannella.Don Barrett, one of Morris’ lawyers, said the sheriff believes the Police Interceptors are defective but are needed to replace older cars in the fleet.

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