'Built Ford Tough' slogan basis of another suit against Ford

David Yates Jul. 22, 2008, 8:34am

Petrotex Fuels Inc. voided its Ford truck's warranty by having an engine-stressing, aftermarket part installed. When the truck blew a gasket, Petrotex had to pay $6,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

Instead of learning a lesson the hard way, Petrotex opted to file a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company, claiming the vehicle manufacture "fraudulently" marketed its trucks as being "Built Ford Tough," court documents say.

To handle its case, Petrotex sought the services of plaintiff's attorney Jeffrey Roebuck, who knows first hand performance chips void Ford's truck warranty. Roebuck sued Ford in August 2007 when his Ford truck broke down because of a warranty-violating chip.

Petrotex's lawsuit was filed July 21 in Jefferson County District Court. The suit also names Gale Banks Engineering as a defendant � the company who installed the programmer on Petrotex's company truck.

In its suit, Petrotex says it purchased a programmer for its Ford F350 based upon representations made in Banks' advertising that the programmer would not void the manufacturer's warranty and that the programmer would not damage the vehicle's engine.

When the vehicle had about 42,000 miles on it, Petrotex began experiencing problems with the engine and immediately took it in for service to Philpott Ford, who informed the company it would not honor the vehicle's warranty because the Banks' programmer was installed, say court papers.

"As a result of the denial of the warranty claim on the vehicle, plaintiff was forced to spend over $6,000 to repair the vehicle," the suit says.

"Ford produced and sold the vehicle � knowing that the vehicle had defects. Ford marketed the vehicle as being 'Built Ford Tough' when Ford knew that the diesel engine had defects and reliability problems.

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

Petrotex is alleging conspiracy, claiming "Ford is denying the warranty when a vehicle has had a programmer installed, because they are aware that their 6.0 liter diesel engine was poorly designed and engineered and are using the programmer issue as a pretext to deny warranty claims," the suit states.

The four-count lawsuit charges Ford and Banks with Negligent Misrepresentation, breach of warranty, malice and fraud.

Petrotex is suing for actual and exemplary damages, mental anguish and attorney's fees.

Roebuck is a partner in the Roebuck, Thomas, Roebuck & Adams law firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield of the 136th Judicial District.

Case No. D182-102

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