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Ford Can’t Duck Fatal Truck Accident Suit

(CN) - Ford Motor Co. cannot void a suit filed on behalf of two individuals who were fatally injured when ejected from a 2000 Ford Ranger pickup, a federal judge ruled.

In May 2010, Michael Craig Pleskovich was driving his 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck with Jenna Gilmore in Washington County, Penn.

When Pleskovich's truck collided with another vehicle, he and Gilmore were ejected and ultimately died from their injuries.

Barbara and Michael L. Pleskovich and Michael Gilmore sued Ford Motor Co. on the decedents' behalf for (1) strict liability, (2) breach of warranty of merchantability, (3) breach of warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, (4) negligence, and (5) breach of express warranty.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab granted Ford's motion to dismiss counts 2, 3, and 5 for failure to state a claim in May 2012.

The surviving parties submitted a statement of claims in Sept. 2012, detailing Ford's alleged failure to design the 2000 Ranger to minimize the risk of ejection through side passenger windows during a rollover crash with an "ejection mitigation system," high-penetration resistant laminated glass, and certain airbags.

Ford moved for partial summary judgment, and the plaintiffs filed a response in opposition.

Schwab denied Ford's motion on Monday, Dec. 3.

"Ford contends that it will be unduly burdensome and potentially prejudicial for it to defend itself against claims in plaintiffs' complaints that are not included in their statement of claims," the judge wrote. "As such, Ford argues that 'Plaintiffs should be held to the bounds of their statement of claims so that Ford many [sic] know exactly what it is defending.'"

"Ford has not cited any case for this proposition and has been aware of the claims against it since March 2012," the three-page opinion continues. "The court finds that no portion of plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed. This case will proceed in accordance with this court's pre-trial order," Schwab concluded.

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