Insurer sued for denying coverage on vehicle damaged by tainted fuel

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 9, 2011, 5:26am

GALVESTON - Alleging his pickup truck did not receive proper coverage after he filled it with contaminated fuel, Santa Fe resident Brad Stansberry has filed suit against Ford Motor Co., Farmers Texas County Mutual Insurance Co. and McRee Ford Inc.

Stansberry alleges Ford Motor Co. and McRee Ford "have been unable to repair the vehicle in accordance with Ford's express warranty." In addition, Farmers denied the claim because of mechanical failure and not fuel contamination, court papers filed Jan. 31 in Galveston County District Court state.

According to the original petition, the plaintiff purchased a 2008 Ford F-250 pickup truck from Ron Carter Ford in Alvin for $53,000 in May 2007. Stansberry claims that the vehicle has experienced defects with high idle, front idle shaking, transmission, radiator, coolant leaks and the idler pulley.

A few months ago, Stansberry claims the truck died while he was driving. The plaintiff had the vehicle towed to McRee Ford for service and then discovered the fuel contained a "milky white substance."

"McRee Ford denied the warranty and Ford supported the denial," the suit says.

Stansberry states that repair costs were approximately $8,000, which would not be covered by Ford's warranty.

He then filed a claim with Farmers the following month. The insurer's investigators conducted tests on the fuel in question and concluded that the likely cause of the problems was a failure of a high pressure diesel fuel injection pump.

"According to the repair technician of McRee Ford, all the evidence was consistent with the fuel pump's failure," the suit says.

"However, the pumps are not warranted without thorough diagnostic tests. The technician stated that they found that the fuel quality was insufficient even though they do not send out the fuel for any type of analysis."

Farmers eventually rejected the claim, Stansberry says.

Consequently, he seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Craig M. Patrick of Dallas is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 11-cv-0156

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