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Old 12-13-2006, 02:43   #1 (permalink)
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US:Jury throws out Ford racism suit

Jury throws out Ford racism suit

Third discrimination case filed by current and past salaried workers said to have no merit.

Josee Valcourt / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- A Detroit jury on Tuesday unanimously dismissed a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Ford Motor Co. executive against the Dearborn-based automaker.

The lawsuit was one of several filed this year by 22 current and past Ford employees. The jury determined the allegations had no merit.

Ford has now prevailed in three of the cases. The first involving a former executive secretary was thrown out of court earlier this year, and the majority of the complaints in a second lawsuit was dismissed.

In the decision Tuesday, a Wayne County Circuit Court jury ruled against Bob Sims, the most senior Ford employee among the workers suing the company. He alleged that the automaker stood by while black salaried employees faced racial discriminated by managers and co-workers.

Sims, who's job title fell one level below vice president, was promoted twice during his tenure at Ford, but charged that his career eventually suffered because of discrimination at the company.

The trial, which Judge Gershwin Drain presided over, started Nov. 27.

The jury's decision is another victory for Ford, which has refuted all of the claims made in the individual and class-action lawsuits.

Those lawsuits are being overseen in part by a high-powered Florida attorney named Willie Gary, known for winning mega verdicts against major corporations and by the Detroit law firm Edwards and Jennings.

The cases have also sparked protests against Ford led by black ministers in Detroit.

"We are pleased with the court's dismissal. It's just affirming that the allegations are groundless," Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said.

Sims' attorney could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
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My next Ford.....
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