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Ford rejects Woodstock woman's claims in lawsuit

By Joe Beck

Lawyers for Ford Motor Co. Monday rejected claims made by a Woodstock woman against the carmaker stemming from injuries she suffered when the vehicle she was driving hit a parking lot light post.

Ford's reply to the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg came in a document arguing that the company could not be sued by the plaintiff, Audrey E. Fravel. The company said the design defect cited in Fravel's suit is not covered under the vehicle's express warranty.

"An express warranty covering 'materials and workmanship' does not, by its terms, include design defects," the company said in a brief asking that the case be dismissed.

Fravel, of 23584 Senedo Road, states in her complaint that she suffered "serious and permanent injuries" as a result of the accident in the parking lot of Peebles Department Store at the corner of U.S. 11 and East Reservoir Road on Nov. 16, 2011.

Fravel backed out of a parking space and placed the vehicle, a 2010 Ford Edge, in drive, according to the suit. The Edge suddenly sped up without Fravel using the accelerator, the suit continues.

The suit maintains that braking failed to stop the Edge, which hit the concrete base of a parking lot light post with "great force."

Fravel's attorney, Bradley G. Pollack of Woodstock, has said the accident left his client "black and blue all over" and forced her to spend a week or two in the hospital.

The lawsuit, which seeks an unstated amount of compensatory and punitive damages from Ford, blames the accident on a poorly designed electronic control throttle.

Ford argues in its brief that any statements made by the company describing the Edge as safe or reliable constituted "the kind of puffing to be expected in any sales transaction, rather than a positive averment of fact" that might apply to an express warranty.

Pollack said Wednesday he is consulting with experts to determine whether Fravel's claims could be joined by either side to a similar class action lawsuit filed against Ford in West Virginia.

"Mrs. Fravel will be compensated for what she went through," Pollack said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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