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FORD EXPLORER ROLLOVERS:
Bruce_Kaster

Meet The Tire Industry's "Public Enemy Number One"

Extensive litigation experience against major tire manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers, including Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear, Continental General, Cooper Tire, Ford Motor Company and others.

 

Ford Exployer Rollovers

The widely recognized problem of the instability of many SUVs and the resulting single vehicle rollover accidents are often precipitated by tread belt separations. For example, the Ford Explorer, Ranger and F Series are particularly susceptible to loss of control and subsequent rollover in a tread belt separation incident.

The Ford Explorer design defects include problems with control, stability, roof crush, and occupant restraints. When the tread separates from a tire on an Explorer it is likely that the vehicle will "skate". "Skate" is a term used by Ford engineers to describe the breaking loose of the back-end when the vehicle experiences such things as a rough road, interaction with a rumble strip, or a tread belt separation. This is undoubtedly the reason William Clay Ford has testified that in a tread separation event the driver cannot be blamed for the accident. Interestingly, this is contrary to the sworn testimony of many of Ford's hired experts.

The instability of the Ford Explorer often causes it to roll over in a skate event. The instability of the Explorer was well known to Ford before the vehicle went into production. In a deposition taken by Mr. Kaster of a Ford engineer, James Mason, Mr. Mason reluctantly admitted (when confronted with Ford documents) that in 1989 he recommended that the Explorer be lowered and widened to increase stability. This recommendation was the result of internal testing by Ford that showed the vehicle was subject to rollover in accident avoidance maneuvers. In the deposition taken in Hall-Edwards v. Ford, a case in Dade County, Florida, Mr. Mason explained that the reason the vehicle was not made more stable was that Ford did not want to delay the introduction of the Explorer. Accordingly, Ford produced a vehicle they knew was unstable in order to maximize their profits. They did indeed maximize profits; unfortunately, at the cost of hundreds of lives and serious injuries.

When a Ford Explorer rolls over, the occupants are at special risk because the vehicle does not have adequate roof crush protection and the seat belts do not protect the occupants in a rollover incident. In contrast, the Volvo XC90 does not have a skate problem, nor a stability problem, its roof crush protection is excellent, and it incorporates adequate and appropriate seat belt design. Since Ford owns Volvo, one would have expected that the Explorer would have the same design safety measures. Unfortunately, this is not true. Accordingly, the design of Explorer vehicles produced prior to 2002 is another sad example of profits over safety.

Notwithstanding the multiple design defects in the Ford Explorer, Ford was successful in prevailing in lawsuits around the country until recently. There are two Florida cases that are of particular significance. The first one, Miller v. Ford, is a case that Mr. Kaster was involved in in Ft. Myers in August 2004. As a result of this case, many of the Ford Explorer documents that had been suppressed by Ford became public. Recently, in Duncan v. Ford in Jacksonville, Volvo XC90 documents became public. It is anticipated that in future cases documents that should never have been protected will become public and the whole sad story of the Explorer design defects will finally be told.

Bruce R. Kaster, PA is available to assist you in the evaluation of cases, sharing information, and as consulting counsel or co-counsel.
BRUCE R. KASTER, PA
125 NE 1st Ave.
Box 100, Suite 3
Ocala, Florida 34478-0100
Phone: (352) 622-1600
E-mail:brk@tirefailures.com

THE ABOVE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED INFORMATIONAL ONLY AND NOT THE GIVING OF ADVICE AS TO YOUR SPECIFIC CASE. EACH STATE HAS ITS OWN LAWS REGARDING PRODUCTS. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU OR A RELATIVE HAS BEEN THE VICTIM OF A TIRE EXPLOSION, YOU SHOULD TALK WITH A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS AND REMEDIES. THE LAWYER CAN DISCUSS THE SPECIFICS ABOUT YOUR FACTUAL SITUATION AS WELL AS YOUR RIGHTS.