US:Judge: Ford can refuse to sell cars to police suing company
Judge: Ford can refuse to sell cars to police suing company
SHALIMAR, Fla. -- Ford Motor Co. can refuse to sell police cars to Florida law enforcement agencies that join a lawsuit against the automaker 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 the department. 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 granted class-action status last month, permitting hundreds of Florida law enforcement agencies to join the lawsuit. No deadline for potential plaintiffs to join or opt out has been set.
Barron said Monday that case law establishes a company’s right to refuse to do business with any customer.
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.
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.
Morris’ lawyers say there have been 14 accidents nationwide in which Police Interceptors caught fire after being rear-ended. Ford attorneys say 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.
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.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....