Ford sued over faulty brake switch in Cook County

Legal News Line Feb. 25, 2008, 7:53am

CHICAGO -- A Morton Grove, Ill. resident sued the Ford Motor Company in Cook County Circuit Court alleging products liability with respect to a Ford truck's transmission system. Plaintiff Gary Noe purchased a Ford truck (the model is not specified) from Golf Mill Ford in Niles, Ill. on Jan. 12, 2006. "On or about" that same day, the plaintiff parked the truck in his driveway and exited the vehicle. The truck allegedly slipped out of park and rolled backward, "striking the plaintiff and causing the plaintiff to be thrown on or about said driveway and then dragged and/or rolled over by the front wheel." Noe allegedly suffered unspecified injuries as a result of the incident. The alleged defect involved the truck's brake shift interlock switch, which "failed or refused to perform properly" at the time of the incident. The brake shift interlock is a mechanism designed to prevent a vehicle's gear shift from switching unexpectedly. The device is often blamed for rollaway accidents that occur when the driver is not behind the wheel of the vehicle. Noe asserts that Ford failed to warn drivers of this issue or recall the product. The complaint alleges strict liability, negligence, and breach of express warranty against both Ford as the manufacturer and Golf Mill Ford, the dealership that sold the vehicle to Noe. Neither has filed an appearance yet in the case. Noe is represented by Alan H. Bender of Goldstein, Fishman, Bender & Romanoff of Chicago. The firm primarily handles tort/negligence cases such as auto accidents and slip & falls. On this case, the firm might immediately face a statute of limitations hurdle. In Illinois, a products liability suit must be brought within two years after the plaintiff suffers the injury. Here, however, Noe's injury allegedly occurred "on or about" Jan. 12, 2006, but the suit was not filed until Jan. 14, 2008. Noe's attorneys will need to clarify the date of the incident to avoid a dismissal motion from Ford. The case is set before Judge John A. Ward in the Circuit Court of Cook County for a status hearing on April 16.

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