Tough truck luck

The SE Texas Record Aug. 18, 2007, 5:52am

Jeffrey Roebuck is a personal injury lawyer, and personal injury lawyers do one thing when things don't go their way.

They sue.

And they do so with impunity. We mean "for free," filing briefs, answers, motions, requests and whatever else comes to mind, all gratis. A little frivolity goes a long way when your own meter isn't running and your opponent's is ticking along at $300 per hour.

Roebuck's lawsuit filed this week against Ford-- he says the company defrauded him by marketing the F250 truck he bought last year as "Built Ford Tough"-- doesn't read like much. In its legal reasoning and logic-- he alleges a grand conspiracy by the automaker and Philpott Ford in Nederland-- it's actually quite laughable. Not that it matters. Roebuck has nothing to lose, just plenty to gain.

Bitter that he ruined his brand new truck, installing in it some new-fangled, non-Ford device in an attempt to make it faster, but instead simultaneously ruining its engine and tubing his warranty, Roebuck wants more than his money back. In his complaint, he takes a wild, wide swing at the automaker, suggesting it tried from the start to dupe him and others with that "tough" ad campaign.

"Ford fraudulently marketed and sold the vehicle in question along with hundreds of thousands of other similar vehicles, knowing that consumers... would have serious engine problems," wrote Roebuck.

We here at the Southeast Texas Record know from personal experience how lawyers can abuse their privileged position with the court to harass their perceived enemies, or go fishing for a little jackpot justice moolah.

For the defendants, the point is that even when you win these cases, they're so costly that you really lose.

Men like Roebuck know as much, which is why they press on, hopeful that the Fords of the world will opt to cut them a rich check rather than a richer one to their corporate lawyers.

Alaska has a "loser pays" system. Maybe Texas should try it on for size?

More News