Partner Sherman Spitz Takes on Ford Motor Company for Vehicle Fire

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With dangerous vehicle recalls appearing regularly in the news, Berger Kahn partner Sherman Spitz has taken on a far less publicized, albeit equally dangerous type of new car failure in representing Michelle Francis, who, following a harrowing vehicle fire caused by a defect specifically identified by Ford in a technical service bulletin (TSB), was left injured and without recourse for nearly two years until Spitz came to her aid.

Spitz is suing Ford Motor Company and two Ford dealerships after Francis had to jump from her flaming three-and-a-half-month-old Ford F-150 pickup truck due to precisely the same transmission fluid leak defect addressed in Ford's earlier issued service bulletin. "When she asked Ford to fix her truck under her new car warranty, Ford refused unless she would agree to sign a comprehensive waiver agreement releasing Ford from all liability and damages - including Ms. Francis' substantial bodily injuries and emotional distress resulting from her terrifying experience," says attorney Sherman Spitz.

When Francis declined to sign the waiver, the lawsuit alleges that Ford made sure she was blacklisted from receiving the warranty repair at that dealership, or any dealership, rendering her without transportation and stranded for 41 days in Yuma, AZ, 1300 miles from her home in Washington State.

For at least the past 30 years, the Ford F-150 has been the most widely sold vehicle in the United States, and this case raises many questions regarding safety of new popular vehicles, fair treatment of consumers, and really, what automobile manufacturers can get away with regarding their warranty policies.

Says Spitz about the series of events, "It is so sad when something like this happens. Consumers have a right to expect that when a serious defect - particularly one that may cause a new vehicle to burst into flames - is brought to the automobile company's attention, it will promptly, sensitively and fairly remedy the defect by, in the least, honoring its warranty obligations by repairing the defect at no cost to the consumer and without requiring the consumer to forfeit his/her legal rights. After all, a deal's a deal. There are no provisions in the new car warranty that require consumers to waive any of their legal rights in order to have the warranty honored. My hope is that through bringing light to Ms. Francis' horrific experience with Ford- a leader in the industry - the end result will be safer vehicles and more fairly treated automobile owners."

ABOUT SHERMAN M. SPITZ: Sherman M. Spitz is a principal at Berger Kahn's Orange County office and is one of the most experienced trial attorneys in California having tried more than 90 cases to jury verdict. He has obtained multi-million verdicts and settlements, including a $1.2 million settlement during trial in June 2011 on behalf of a brain injured man, a $6.5 million settlement for a plaintiff in an employment discrimination case, and a $7.5 million settlement for a plaintiff in a wrongful death action in 2008. Mr. Spitz is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and was named to the list of Southern California Super Lawyers for 2012-2014.

ABOUT BERGER KAHN: Berger Kahn, A Law Corporation, is a California-based law firm with practice areas including insurance coverage and litigation, business litigation, labor and employment, serious personal injury and wrongful death, and subrogation. The firm has offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area.


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