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John Bisnar
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Ford Fatal Fire Case Settled

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Ford denies fault, settles anyway.

An Iowa man whose wife died in a fire he said was caused by a Ford pickup truck, has settled a lawsuit with the auto manufacturer, according to an Associated Press news report posted on the Business Week Web site..

The 78-year-old Earl Mohlis’ wife, Darletta, died May 2, 2005, after a fire spread from their attached garage to their home.

Mohlis and his three grown children filed a lawsuit in October 2005, which claimed a cruise control deactivation switch in a 1996 Ford F-150 pickup started the fire although no one was using the truck, the article said.

Four months before this fire, Ford recalled almost 800,000 vehicles because of a problem with the cruise control switch. But it wasn’t until four months after Mohlis’ death that the company expanded the recall to include 3.8 million pickups and sport utility vehicles from the 1994 to 2002 model years.

According to the family’s lawsuit, Ford initially limited the recall of vehicles with similar speed control switches to save money. A Ford spokeswoman confirmed on Monday that a settlement was reached in October, but did not disclose the financial details, the article said. Mr. Mohlis said he had little choice but to accept a settlement because it could take as long as six years for the case to go to trial.

This case was one of three in the United States in which faulty cruise control deactivation switches were blamed for causing fatal fires.
Still, check out what the Ford spokeswoman says in this article:

“We feel strongly that the vehicle was not the source of the fire in this particular case. As with any case, you have to look at the cost versus risk and make a business decision about whether or not it makes sense for the company to go through such a costly and lengthy trial.”

So that’s what it all boils down to – money and profits.

This has been a pattern with Ford. They love to deny – be it roof crush injuries with the Ford Explorer or seat back failure injuries in the Escort – Ford Motor Co. has a history of turning a blind eye to the problems that exist in its own vehicles. Does Ford’s failure to be accountable for defects in their vehicles and the resulting catastrophic injuries have anything to do with their continuing loss of market share and deep yearly financial losses?

Why is it so difficult for this company to admit its faults? How many people have to die before they recall their defective vehicles? Even after three people lost their lives as a result of the pick-up truck fires, all company has to say is their vehicle “was not the source” of these fatal fires that tragically took these people away from their families.
Of all the auto defect cases we have done against Ford, Ford has never, ever, admitted they were a fault.