Fifth Defective Door Latch Class Action Filed Against Ford Motor Company and Vendors

Claims Door Specifications Never Met Federal Regulation Requirements

Feb 18, 2005, 00:00 ET from Motley Rice LLC

    MT. PLEASANT, S.C. and BOSTON, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Two of the nation's
 largest plaintiffs' law firms, Motley Rice LLC of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and
 Boston-based Thornton & Naumes LLP, today announced the filing of a class
 action in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts against Ford Motor Company, Ford
 Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., Magna Donnelly Corporation, Intier Automotive
 Seating of America Inc. and Intier Automotive Closures of America (d/b/a
 Dortec Industries) for designing, manufacturing, installing, supplying,
 selling and distributing outside door handles systems that do not comply with
 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 206, Canadian Federal Motor
 Vehicles Safety Standard (CMVSS) 206 or even Ford's internal standards. The
 defect in the doors is alleged to cause unintended door openings and passenger
 ejectment in accidents.  Passenger ejectments are the leading cause of serious
 injuries and death in motor vehicle accidents.
     The claim alleges that outside door handles and their component parts are
 defective in the following vehicles:
      * 1997 - 2000   Ford F-150
      * 1997 - 2000   Ford F-250 -Super Light Duty
      * 1997 - 2000   Ford Expedition
      * 2000          Ford F150 Super Crew
     The claim alleges that Ford violated numerous Mass. Gen. Laws such as:
 unfair methods of competition and unfair/ deceptive acts and practices,
 conspiracy and concert of action to violate the law, breach of express and
 implied warranty and unjust enrichment.  It is alleged that by October of
 1995, Ford had knowledge of the defect.  During crash testing, it was observed
 that, upon impact, the impacted side door would open and subsequent testing
 revealed both impacted and non-impacted doors can open.  In August 1997,
 Transport Canada conducted testing on the Ford F150.  A Transport Canada
 video, provided to Ford, shows the non-impacted side door opening on impact.
     In March 2000, internal corporate documents that tested sub-components,
 specifically the outside door handles, showed outside handle operating forces
 were below values specified in the federal regulations designed to keep doors
 closed in accidents.  Federal regulations require door handles be able to
 withstand 30 G's of inertial force on impact.  In mid-March 2000, Ford
 engineers recommended that a safety-related campaign be instituted to correct
 the spring torque for the affected latches.  However, seven days later, the
 safety campaign was cancelled.  The action claims that Ford, Ford Canada and
 the manufacturing defendants manipulated data, internal specifications,
 federal rules and violated commonly accepted practices in order to avoid the
 purchaser notification and recall requirements that FMVSS non-compliance
 triggers.  To date, consumers have not been notified and a recall has not been
 issued.  It is estimated that there may be as many as 4,400,000 vehicles with
 alleged defective door latches in the U.S. and Canada.  Deaths and serious
 personal injuries have been reported and are the subjects of numerous lawsuits
 in the United States including a trial scheduled to begin next week in US
 District Court in Florence, South Carolina. Motley Rice LLC and Ed Bell Law
 Firm are trying that action.  Other class action lawsuits against Ford for
 similar door latch failures have already been filed in Alabama, Canada,
 Florida and North Carolina.
     For more information about defective door latch litigation, contact David
 Strouss or Kristen Fritz of Thornton & Naumes at 1-800-431-4600 or Fritz Jekel
 of Motley Rice at 1-800-768-4026 or visit .
     About Motley Rice LLC
     Motley Rice LLC is one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' litigation
 firms.  Motley Rice attorneys gained global recognition for their pioneering
 work on behalf of asbestos victims, the State Attorneys General in their
 landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and the 9/11 families in their
 groundbreaking lawsuit against terrorist financiers. Motley Rice attorneys
 continue to seek justice in the areas of: catastrophic injury; complex case
 resolution; consumer and commercial fraud; environmental hazards and
 contamination; medical negligence and defects; occupational disease and toxic
 torts; and transportation defects.  For more information on Motley Rice LLC
 call 1-800-768-4026 or visit .
     About Thornton & Naumes LLP
     Founded in 1978, Thornton & Naumes is one of the largest plaintiffs' law
 firms in New England.  Their attorneys represent individuals injured by toxic
 and defective products.  They are also involved in cases of nationwide
 significance, such as representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts against
 the tobacco industry and other states and municipalities against the lead
 paint industry.

SOURCE Motley Rice LLC