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Despite recall, Ford faces wrongful death, injury suits
October 23, 2009
Earlier this month Ford Motor Co. expanded its largest recall ever, adding 4.5 million vehicles equipped with faulty cruise control switches. It's the eighth recall over a 10-year period, for a total of 16 million Ford vehicles with defective cruise control switches manufactured by Texas Instruments. The switches can short circuit and cause underhood fires, even when the vehicle is turned off and parked. The switches have been linked to at least 550 vehicle fires nationwide, as well as damaged homes and property. Ford stopped installing the switches in model year 2003 vehicles. But the company still faces dozens of lawsuits, including several claiming serious injuries and deaths of car owners and family members that allegedly occurred when their Ford vehicles burst into flames.
Mark Chalos, a partner at Lieff Cabraser in Nashville, said his firm has been involved in about a dozen lawsuits alleging property damage and personal injury, as well as three deaths due to fires allegedly caused by faulty Ford speed control switches. Most of the suits brought by Chalos's firm have been resolved, but several are still pending.
"There have been many, many families that have lost their vehicles and lost their homes, and some have lost their loved ones," Chalos said. "A recall certainly doesn't solve the problem for these folks. Ford needs to be accountable to the families that have been impacted by fires caused by Ford vehicles and they need to make it right by those families."