Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Ford for defective jack after man crushed by van

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 6, 2011, 8:50am

This photo is an example of "scissors" jack, but it does not necessarily represent the jack used in the complaint.

MARSHALL - The family of a deceased Texas resident has filed a lawsuit against Ford, claiming the company manufactured a defective jack which failed to hold up the weight of a vehicle which fell upon the man.

The widow and children of Rusty Lamont Hendriks -- Teresa Hendriks, Matthew Hendriks, Sara Hendriks and Samuel Hendriks -- filed suit against Ford Motor Co. on June 1 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

On March 7, Rusty Hendriks was attempting to repair the family's Ford Freestar minivan in their garage. According to the allegations, Rusty used the scissors jack, "an original piece of equipment designed, manufactured and marketed for and with the van," to raise the right side of the vehicle and then he removed the right front tire.

The lawsuit states he placed chocks behind each tire, had the van parked on a flat surface and placed the jack in the location designated by the vehicle manuals. The family alleges Rusty suffered fatal injuries when the scissors jack failed, causing the van to drop on his head.

The defendant is accused of negligence, products liability, manufacturing defect, design defect, marketing defect, misrepresentation and breach of implied warranty of merchantability.

"Consumers have made complaints concerning Defendant Ford Motor Company about the quality of the scissors jacks that accompany each vehicle. The jacks fail because they are too short, poorly constructed and incapable of lifting the weight of the vehicles for which they are designed, manufactured and marketed," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for the deceased's physical impairment, excruciating pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, death, burial and funeral expenses and for their disfigurement, humiliation, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of income, loss of consortium, interest and court costs.

The family is represented by Geoff J. Henley and H. Hudson Henley of Henley & Henley P.C. in Dallas. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00273

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