Government Fleet Top News

Class-Action Suit Against Ford Could Prevent Vehicle Replacement

December 1, 2004

BATON ROUGE, LA - The Louisiana State Police is considering whether to drop its lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. which claims its police vehicles are unacceptably dangerous. The discussion arose one week after lawyers won the right to bring any state police department that owns a Crown Victoria police car into the suit, reported the Associated Press.The Louisiana State Police fleet needs to replace 400 aging Crown Victoria Police Interceptors and Ford won´t sell to agencies involved in the lawsuit against the company.The class-action status of the case could block nearly every law enforcement agency and municipality in Louisiana from buying the cars. Despite the lawsuits, about 80 percent of the specially-packaged police cars sold in the United States are Crown Victoria Interceptors, according to the AP.Lawyers estimate there are between 10,000 and 15,000 Interceptors in use in Louisiana. Lawsuits were filed by 38 Louisiana police departments and sheriff´s offices against Ford, but most have since dropped the suits. A judge still needs to rule if those agencies may be excluded from the state´s class-action lawsuit.In related news:
ISELIN, NJ - Texas police departments dropped a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. after the automaker won the first class-action claim to go to trial last month, according to the NAFA Fleet Focus e-mail newsletter.The lawsuit claimed Ford´s Crown Victoria patrol cars are vulnerable to fuel-fed fires in high-speed rear-end collisions. It also claimed the vehicles were designed with a defect because the gas tank is located behind the rear axle.Attorneys for the Nueces County, Texas Sheriff´s Department dismissed the suit and said it was unlikely to win court approval. The Illinois jury involved in the first class-action claim found the vehicle to be “reasonably safe.”

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