Thursday

Toyota Paid $10 Million to Settle 4 Self Acceleration Deaths

Lots of folks heard about the state trooper in California who was killed, with family members, when his 2009 Lexus Es ran out of control, killing Saylor, his wife, brother in law and daughter. What no one heard about is the secret settlement that Toyota struck with them last fall.

Turns out that Toyota agreed to pay $10 million to settle the case brought by the families. The accident was one of the primary causes of the recall that ended up in the millions of Toyota vehicles over unintended acceleration vehicles recalled.

The settlement was to be secret but word of it leaked out just before Christmas 2010 when it was publicly reported by the LA Times newspaper. The leak is rumored to have come from the car dealership's attorney involved in the case.

As usual, part of the settlement was that Toyota did not admit that anything was wrong with the vehicle. In spite of the trooper's infamous 911 call, pleading for help - and in spite of the $10 million they paid out - and in spite of the secrecy requirement Toyota wanted - Toyota still insists that it was just the floor mats that caused the crash.

Ten million dollars because the floor mats were the cause? Yeah, right.

If you've got a lemon Toyota, be careful. And if you want to get rid of it, call us. Getting rid of lemon cars is what we do. Everyday.

Ford & Navistar Engine Troubles Mounting

Navistar and Ford are the subject of at least 5 major lawsuits over their faulty diesel engines in the 2003 through 2007 model year Fords. And now here comes another one.

The Navistar 6 liter engines are at the heart of the litigation. Ford put the Navistar engines in a variety of models before consumer complaints reached such a frenzy that they could no longer stand the heat. Ford bought the engines from Navistar and then the warranty claims apparently went wild, with numerous manufacturing and design defects alleged by numerous consumer-owners of the bad trucks.

Back in 2007 Ford filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Navistar over the faulty engines. This newest lawsuit was filed by a consumer in federal court in California against both Ford and Navistar and you can read the lawsuit papers (called the "Complaint") by clicking here. This case asks the court to make it a California-state-wide class action on behalf of all California consumers.

We've been seeing these bad diesel engine Ford truck cases for years now and have been dealing with them one at a time. Class actions are nice, and we handle them too, but many times an owner just wants to get rid of their bad vehicle and go on in life. It takes patience and perseverance to be willing to pursue a manufacturer not just for yourself, but also on behalf of every one of the victims who got stuck with a bad product.

These engines can cost thousands of dollars to replace and repairs, in our experience, seem to be little more than a band-aid that stalls off the bigger replacement cost that will eventually come anyway.

The result for consumers has been big money lost while owning the Ford diesel truck and just as big a loss when you try to trade it in or sell it - because the diesel truck's reputation has ruined the truck's value. After all, anyone who does just a little research on the internet will turn up tons of complaints from other consumers.

If you've got a bad Ford diesel truck - if you've paid money for repairs or engine replacement - you've got rights. If Ford won't help you, we will. Getting rid of lemon diesel Ford trucks is what we do. Everyday. Since 1978. It's only fair.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to drive a lemon.

Tuesday

Toyota: "We did nothing wrong but we'll pay $32.4 million more if the US stops investigating what we didn't do"

Toyota has agreed to pay the US another $32,400,000 to shut down the US federal government's safety investigation of its self-acceleration problems and its failure to report the defect to US safety investigators timely. That's on top of the $16.4 million it already paid toward the penalty.

For its part, government officials said they expected better cooperation out of Toyota next time while Toyota, for its part, said the payment enabled it to "turn the page" and move on with its business of making and selling cars.

By the end of this year Toyota will have recalled more vehicles in a single than any other known manufacturer ever faced while its market share fell dramatically. Meanwhile, questions still exist.

There is still no explanation for the state trooper whose Toyota-built car couldn't be stopped until it crashed and killed the trooper and his family members.

The man who was imprisoned for a Toyota vehicular homicide-related conviction was set free but still lost years of his life because Toyota swept its problem under the corporate rug.

The ex-Toyota lawyer whistle-blower is all but forgotten, even though he first publicly talked about Toyota's corporate policy of "playing hide the evidence and lie about it."

And the many lawsuits filed against Toyota were themselves almost all swept up into the massive multidistrict litigation that still churns away in a sunny LA federal courtroom.

Meanwhile, Toyota just wants to move on. Perhaps its settlement with federal safety investigators is a sign that it is finally beginning to recognize its own dirty laundry. For this Christmas, maybe all Toyota owners should ship a box of detergent to Toyota Motor Sales USA, 19001 South Western Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501. They could still use a good scrubbing.

If you've got a lemon Toyota, with Toyota's history of fight, stall, delay, and deny-at-all-costs, you need a lawyer that will fight for you. Get a Burdge attorney. Getting rid of Toyota lemons is what we do. We've been doing it since 1978. And making them pay your attorney fees in a lemon law case is just, well, justice.

Friday

The Hottest Hybrid Moves to China and Leaves US in the Cold - Fisker Karma Beats the Volt



If you were building the hottest looking plug in hybrid in the world, and it was priced just shy of $90,000, where would you market it first? Turns out the answer is China. And US buyers, standing in line with some 3,000 orders, aren't happy.

The reasons for the move are sensible, if not insulting to Detroit and US customers who have been lining up to get thier hands on the real thing. One look at the hot Karma model and you can sure see why everyone wants it. It's a four door sedan with lines that remind you of the best that Bentley or Jaguar makes if a fine luxury car. It easily beats the Chevy Volt in every department but price, but for the looks of it, price doesn't matter so much.

The Karma will get 300 miles with its high performance styling, 50 on just its electric battery pack alone before the conventional powertrain kicks in for another 250 miles of driving.

So why are they heading to China first?



First, the luxury car market is booming in China, where the economy is hungry for motor vehicles and the luxury segment is even hungrier.



Then there's Fisker's new partner, the China Grand Automotive Group. They just happen to be the number one passenger car company in China, with a dealer network over 200 strong and experience marketing luxury cars in China like Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and Lamborghini, selling more than $7 billion worth. They know what they are doing.

Then, to top it off, there's the Chinese government, which is pushing hard for the home market to adopt clean electric propulsion to clean up its dirty carbon footprint, widely discussed by visiting media at the Chinese Olympics. And Fisker is there to help, first with its sexy luxury Karma sedan. Next they plan to launch a family sedan.

So, US would-be buyers will have to settle for watching Fisker's hot luxury car on television when the cars hit the roads of China in April 2011. And when will they get their hands on one here in the US? No one is talking, but you can bet it won't be soon.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978.

Saturday

Giving Back with Backpacks Filled for the Needy


Each year the staff of Burdge Law Office does something for a local charity to help out the needy. This year we are supporting Fairhaven Church's drive to fill 1,000 Backpacks for the area's homeless, including needy children.

The entire staff joined in the effort to fill some of the one thousand backpacks with warm gloves, scarves, blankets for the kids, warm hats, food items, fast food restaurant gift cars, toiletry items and more. Now, with the drive winding down, it's great to see so many backpacks jammed full of needed items for the homeless in our home town community.

In the last year, attorney Burdge was also invited to several national and state Consumer Advocate seminars to give presentations to attorneys and judges and other professionals on the importance, value and reward of giving back to the community and the legal profession, based on research he and others have conducted on how the simple human act of sharing and giving impacts the world we live in, the legal profession, and each giver too.

The staff of our law firm has always sought to help the needy in our world and every one of us is proud to have contributed to the Fairhaven Church Backpacks for Target Dayton project. The homeless of every community can use a helping hand and we encourage you to help out in your home town too.

Giving is what makes the spirit of Christmas last all year long.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers all year 'round.

Friday

Honda Element Bites the Dust


After 8 years of trying, the odd-shaped Honda Element is coming to an end, Honda has announced.

It started out as a unique box design that has since been emulated and copied by other car builders, notably the best-selling Soul. Now, no longer unique, model year 2011 will be its last.

The numbers did it.

Honda sales were up last month by more than 15% but the Element itself fell more than 11%. While Honda sold about 325,000 of the odd-shaped cars mostly to younger owners, sales this year are down to only about 12,000.

Were they reliable? Apparently. The Honda Element had a run of 8 years and we never had a single lemon come in the door. Maybe that means you should get one while they are still on the dealer showroom floor.

Meanwhile, if you have another car that is a lemon, give us a call. We can get your money back or a new one for free and make the manufacturer pay the attorney fees so you won't have to. Of course, if you have a Honda Element, we won't be waiting for you to call.

Because life's too short to drive a lemon,
any kind of lemon.

Thursday

NOW is the time to get rid of a lemon vehicle

A consumer called us today and asked if they should file their Motorcycle Lemon Law case now or wait until spring since they aren't using the bike anyway. Good question.

Like boaters, most bikers don't use their bikes in the winter months in the northern US. Since they aren't riding, the motorcycle defects are not as important or bothersome to many bikers. So they tend to put off their complaints until they get their motorcycle out in the Spring months. That can be a problem.

Here's some reasons why now is the right time to get rid of your lemon motorcycle.

1. Your warranty is running out on you all the time. Manufacturers often argue that since months went by without a consumer complaint, then there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. They don't care if it was winter. They don't care if you were out of town. They don't care if you didn't need transportation because you were laid off. If there was no complaining then, to them, there was no problem. So, complain.

2. It takes time to process a Lemon Law claim. Starting your claim in the winter months gives you a better chance of having it resolved in time for you to be riding a new bike when the spring and summer months get here. If you wait until Springtime, then you probably will lose the whole summer while you put up with a bike that doesn't run right for even longer - right at the time when you wish you could be riding it.

3. It's the end of the year and the manufacturer will want to get it "off the books." Many manufacturers close out their financial books at the first of each year. If they have a claim that they can pay in December, their accountants almost always prefer it that way. You can take advantage of that.

So if you've got a lemon motorcycle, now is the right time to get rid of it. And if your dealer or your manufacturer won't help you out, then call us. Getting rid of lemon motorcycles is what we do. Everyday. Since 1978. Making them pay your legal costs too, well that's only fair.
Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to ride a bad bike.

Wednesday

GM's New $7,000 Car - But You Can't Buy it

GM is building a new four door sedan aimed at the middle class. But it's not for everyone. In fact, you can't even buy it in the United States.

If yo live in China, you can buy the new Baojun 630, a $7,000 four door sedan set to go on sale early next year, in partnership with SAIC, General Motors' Chinese affiliate. And to get into bed even tighter with its US partner, SAID bought up slightly less than one percent of the new GM stock that was released last week. That may not seem like much, but only a handful of people or companies bought enough stock to get near the one percent mark of the new GM stock.

It's the latest effort by the Chinese central government to push auto use into its mainland areas. In fact, GM already has a factory in Shanghai which produces Buick cars. There are plans for 100 new Baojun dealers during the coming half year - if the auto industry isn't thriving in the US, it certainly seems to be doing well in China.

Is the Chinese market small potatoes? Hardly. Last year GM sold more than 2 million vehicles in a single year in China. Still, the new $7,000 car was designed in Korea at GM's facilities there, so GM is spreading the work around.

It all makes you wonder how come we can't get a $7,000 car out of GM here in the US?

Sunday

Toyota: Where's there's smoke, there's fire

The Toyota cases just keep on going - like that rabbit with the battery - it just doesn't quit.

In the latest round, Toyota filed papers in federal court in California asking the court to basically throw out the cases, denying that there was any real defect at all which could cause the runaway accelerator defect that the cases are based on. Toyota argued that any economic loss was speculative.

Attorneys for the consumers appear to have defeated the motion, with a "tentative" 63 page ruling from the federal court that it will reject most of the arguments Toyota is making.

As many of us may recall our parents saying when we were much younger, where there's smoke, there's fire.

The cases are grouped into two types, those with purely economic loss because the cars are allegedly worth less due to their defect history, and those where a death or injury is claimed to have resulted. All in all, Toyota recalled more than 15 million vehicles this last year for a variety of problems the company is struggling with, including over 10 million for unintended acceleration issues.

Meanwhile, the case goes on, owners still wonder and worry, and both the existence and the exact case of the defect still is being debated.

Wednesday

When Being Smart May Not Be So Smart


The Smart cars have been all the rage in Europe for several years now and they are turning lots of heads and getting raves in the US too. But there's one aspect being ignored. Safety and smallness just don't mix.

When most of us were growing up, many parents would make sure that the first car their new-driver-child received was big and bulky. There was a reason for that.

All that engine up front, and the big trunk in back, made sure there was lots of "crush" space in the event of an accident. So what happens when you're in a Smart car? Well, it may not be too good for the drive. Here's a photo of an accident near New Orleans involving two trucks and a Smart car that got sandwiched at less than 10 mph. Bad news.

So, you save some gas, but you take a huge risk. See that little gray blob between the two trucks? That used to be a car.

There's a reason my first car was a big old Ford, folks. Maybe your child's should be too.

Thursday

The Chevy Volt pales next to the Canadian Urbee hybrid


Chevrolet has gotten some good press over its Volt "near hybrid" that is coming out soon, but it promises to be left in the mpg dust by other contenders who set their sights higher. Take the Canadian Urbee.

The electric-gas hybrid from Kor Ecologic is aiming at 200 mpg highway and 100 mpg city driving. That's an achievement.

In addition to its startling good looks, it will cost ten times less to drive an Urbee than it will your average SUV and seats two. One production key will be its ability to store (and then use) the amount of solar and wind energy collectible on a one car garage in one day. You might never actually dip into the gas fuel tank. Oh, and it can run on ethanol too.

The futuristic car just finished its display at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas and is running in the 2010 X Prize Competition, which promises a big cash prize to the first production-capable car to prove it can get 100 mpg.

A fascinating aspect will be the body construction, which plans to be a "3-D" printing process where the body components are printed via layers of material on top of each other until the finished part appears. The process is already being used by Boeing for some airplane parts, but the Urbee makers intend to make the whole body this way. Such innovation at the absolute edge of the envelop sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, so we'll have to wait and see.

But for looks, it's certainly remarkable. Like the Aptera, there just isn't anything like it. I'd take either one of them for a drive today, if I could only find one on the road or at a dealership. So far, that continues to be the problem.

Helping consumers get rid of lemon cars since 1978.

Sunday

The Greatest Halloween Scare

The guy rigged a remote control motorbike with a skeleton driving it and called it his "Jackie" bike. He hides across the street from a walled cemetary and when people walk by at night, they get the fright of their life. Okay, I just couldn't resist sharing this one on this Halloween weekend. Monday, we'll get back to more serious stuff. But for now, a good laugh is always a good diversion from the rest of life.

Now, if the motorbike breaks down, we hope Jackie calls us, of course.

Burdge Law Office
Helping bikers get rid of lemon motorcycles every day.
With a tip of the hat to my dad, who forwarded this video with Halloween greetings.
video

Thursday

Court Cancels Sale of Haunted House


It's the perfect story for Halloween. In 1989 Jeffrey Stambovsky bought an old Victorian house on the banks of the Hudson River at the bottom of a dead end street in the Village of Nyack, NY. At first he thought he got a good deal. But he didn't know what the seller knew.

It was haunted.

You can find the court case in a reported decision - 169 A.D.2d 254, 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 is the citation where you can find the case in a lonely law book hidden away on a dusty shelf in the dark damp corners of an empty law library that echoes your footsteps down the hallway as you search among the stacks of musty leather bound volumes no one reads anymore, tucked away in rooms no one dares to enter.

As the court of appeals laced its decision with ghostly references to literature and lore, the court also did something that no other court seems to have ever done - it held that the home was haunted as a matter of law. No if, and or but about it. The poltergeist, it seems, was legally declared to be real. Or was it?

Quipped the judge, "I am moved by the spirit" as he proceeded to declare that "From the perspective of a person in the position of plaintiff herein, a very practical problem arises with respect to the discovery of a paranormal phenomenon: 'Who you gonna' call?' " Of course, we all know the answer to that one.

The buyer had signed an "as is" clause so the seller, Helen Ackley, argued to the court that there was nothing the buyer could do. He certainly couldn't sue her, she said, and the trial court agreed. Apparently the buyer had never asked if the house was haunted so, technically, the seller never really lied or hid it from him. He just didn't discovery it until he moved in. Haunted by the seller's treacherous deceit, the plaintiff appealed.

Like the 3 ghostly apparitions residing in the home, the appellate papers worked their way through the twists and turns of the legal system until they ended up on the desk of Justice Rubin of New York's Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. Then, on an undoubtedly stormy summer night in 1991, no doubt with a headless horseman effigy hanging from a tree out front in the dark, Justice Smith sided up with Justice Rubin and together they crafted their wiley words that would undo the heartless seller's dirty deed.

No doubt with a straight face, the appellate judges noted the difficulties a buyer would face if the ghostly-burdened seller was allowed to avoid liability by her silence. "The notion that a haunting is a condition which can and should be ascertained upon reasonable inspection of the premises is a hobgoblin which should be exorcised from the body of legal precedent and laid quietly to rest." And so they proceeded.

With citations to the ghost of Hamlet from Shakespeare, joined by Prosser on Torts, and muddied with actual case law to support the fearful logic of it all, Justice Rubin noted the difficulties faced by all home buyers if the seller's "as is" clause allowed her to sweep under the rug the loud proclaiming she had made (both nationally and locally) about her home's regular (and irregular) hauntings, made in the years before this unsuspecting buyer came along.

"Applying the strict rule of caveat emptor to a contract involving a house possessed by poltergeists conjures up visions of a psychic or medium routinely accompanying the structural engineer and Terminix man on an inspection of every home subject to a contract of sale," announced the court of appeals. A normal "subject to inspection" clause might never be the same.

In a written decision that resulted in 17 published points of law [which lawyers call "headnotes", not to be confused with the headless notes of less worthy court decisions, no doubt], the court ruled that since the house was haunted with poltergeists, then the seller did not deliver the premises "vacant" as required by the sales contract. Ahah, with the contract breached, a remedy had to be found.

To that end, the court declared the contract rescinded by the Law of Equity - and with that the seller's ownership of the home arose like a zombie from the grave to haunt her again. And the buyer's purchase was cancelled as the court ghoulisly called the sale "a most unnatural bargain."

So, if this Halloween season you are lured into buying a house without knowing it's haunted, you might want to call the fabled lawyer who got this seller back his money. He went on the become the town attorney for a nearby New York community - presumably where there are no poltergeists.
As for the seller, Helen Ackley, she finally sold the house and moved to Florida in the early 1990's. And just by a curious coincidence, perhaps, just across the river from the haunted house is Tarreytown. Sound familiar? It should. All little children have heard the story. That's where the famed Sleepy Hollow is - the one described by Washington Irving's Halloween tale of the headless horseman, "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow."

Burdge Law Office
http://www.burdgelaw.com/
Helping consumers protect themselves everyday, even from poltergeists.

Special thanks goes out to Nadine, a great friend and source of the case citation above.
The photo above is copyright by Warner Bros. from their 1940's movie "I Walked With a Zombie"

Now it's Nissan's Turn to Recall Millions of Vehicles

The Japanese manufacturers are having a rough year. First Toyota. Now Nissan.

Nissan has announced its third largest recall in its history, over ignition defects involving 2,140,000 vehicles. The defect can lead to engine stalling and involves a variety of Nissan models, from its small minicar up to its big Infiniti QX56 SUV luxury model.

Turns out the defect can stall out the vehicle and you may not be able to restart it.

The recalled Nissan vehicles were built in Japan, the US, Canada, Spain and Great Britain, indicating a design issue may be at the root of the problem.

Recalled vehicles were built from August 2003 to July 2006 and involves, in the US, model years 2004 and 2005 and 2006 Nisan Armada vehicles, Titan trucks, and the Infiniti QX56 Suv. also recalled are 2005 and 2006 Nissan Frontier vehicles, Pathfinder vehicles, and the Xterra model vehicles.

Although the fix can be quick, this Nissan recall follows a flurry of safety and emissions related actions by toyota and BMW and Honda too.

If you've got a recalled Nissan, get it to your dealer right away for repair. You don't want to be heading down the highway and have it stall out on you.

Monday

RV Park Demands More Naked Time for Resident

Okay, now for some "odd" Rv park news today, let's turn to Florida, Paradise Pines, and Brandon Barger, whose reckless and inconsiderate conduct (or lack of it) is about to get him kicked out of the park apparently.

Paradise Pines is a unique Rv park. The Lutz, Florida homeowners association of the Rv park wants to kick out a disabled resident, Brandon Barger. One of the reasons is that he doesn't get naked often enough for the rest of them, according to the St. Petersburg (FL) Times newspaper and United Press International reports.

Paradise Pines is a Florida nudist Rv park (click here to see the happy campers) and apparently they have rules and, you know the old saying, "rules is rules."

The association says that the 28 year old Barger doesn't look after his dog or maintain his property either. But apparently what may be their biggest gripe is that "he is not a practicing nudist" but it's got us wondering, just how do you "practice" that, anyway?

We checked the Rv Park's Rules of Conduct that are posted on their web site, but there's nothing there about how often one has to "practice" their nudity - or where or when. Although the rules do, understandably, prohibit picture taking "without the consent" or at least "the presence" of a member of "the BOD" whatever that is.

Barger gets around in his wheelchair and suffers from nervous system and brittle bone ailments but says he actually is nude quite often and admits to a a failing eyesight, but it sounds like the other residents, who apparently want to check him out to make sure he is complying with their rules, don't see him naked and out and about often enough.

Meanwhile, Barger says that his wheelchair keeps him from getting very far from his Rv and tells them "They say I'm not a nudist? I say, well, come look." Sounds like a challenge, indeed.

Surely Rv life has enough difficulties without picking on a nudist in a wheelchair, one would think. Apparently not for the Paradise Rv'ers.

Friday

Most frequently stolen cars?

A 19 year old Camry turns out to be the most frequently stolen car on the streets right now because thieves can shop it down and make more off the parts than what the car is worth running.

The data is compiled yearly by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, but the Highway Loss Data Institute, which notes that the biggest insurance loss on stolen cars is racked up by the Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV, which results in an insurance claim usually above $40,000.

The numbers vary state by state but here's Ohio's "hot" list:

1 Dodge Caravan 2000

2 Oldsmobile Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera 1995

3 Honda Civic 2000

4 Buick Century 1995

5 Ford Taurus 1999

6 Honda Accord 1994

7 Chevrolet Pick-Up (Full Size) 1990

8 Ford F150 Pickup 1995

9 Chevrolet Cavalier 1999

10 Ford Explorer 1997

Another reason that the pre-2000 model years are often stolen is that thieves run into few factory installed anti-theft devices on those earlier year vehicles. Keep that in mind when you go used car-shopping.

Burdge Law Office

www.BurdgeLaw.com

Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978.


Thursday

Flammable Fords Still on the Road, 8.4 million

Federal safety regulators at NHTSA just released a warning that there are still about 8.4 million Fords on the road that are subject to the "it can burn up at any time" recalls of 14 million Fords between 1999 and 2009. If you know anyone with one of them, tell them it's dangerous and to get their Ford to a Ford dealer to be checked out.

We've written about these flaming Fords before, like the one that burned down Peter Romans home in Ohio that burned his wife and two children to death. Or, in the same blog post, we talked about the homeowner in Minnesota whose 2000 Ford Expedition was parked in the garage and, all on its own, burned down the house.

Well, even though millions were recalled to fix the defect in the cruise control system in millions of these Fords, many owners had sold their Ford to someone else and many ownership records at Ford were simply out of date. With no way to reach them, and with over 8 million Fords not fixed, federal safety officials decided to release another press announcement to warn the public.

We went to the local Lowe's one weekend last summer when the announcement came over the loudspeaker that anyone who owned a Ford pickup truck parked out front should go out to their vehicle right away because it was on fire. Sure enough, when we came out of the store, there was a fire truck parked near a Ford truck, still putting out the engine compartment fire that apparently erupted while the owner was inside shopping.

This danger is real. And it can be deadly. And there is no advance warning. It just bursts into flames.

The only way to know for sure that your Ford had the recall repair done is to take it to a Ford dealer and ask. They shouldn't charge you either.

Don't let it happen to you. If your Ford dealer gives you a runaround or any stall or delay,contact us or call us right away, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We know what to do.

Here's a list of the affected vehicles.

1. 1993 – 2004 F150
2. 1993 – 1999 F250 (gasoline engine)
3. 1993 – 1996 Bronco
4. 1994 – 1996 Econoline
5. 1997 – 2002 Ford Expedition
6. 1998 – 2002 Lincoln Navigator
7. 1998 – 2002 Ford Ranger
8. 1992 – 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car
9. 1993 – 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII
10. 1993 – 1995 Ford Taurus SHO with automatic transmission
11. 1994 – Mercury Capri
12. 1998 – 2001 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer
13. 2001 – 2002 Ford Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac
14. 1992 – 1993 and 1997 – 2003 Ford E-150-350 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
15. 2002 – E-550 gasoline engine vehicles
16. 1996 – 2003 E-450 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
17. 1994 – 2002 F-250 through F-550 super Duty trucks (gasoline engine)
18. 2000 – 2002 Ford Excursion (gasoline engine)
19. 2003 – F250 – F550 Super Duty, Ford Excursion
20. 1995 – 2002 Ford F53 Motor home chassis
21. 2002 – 2003 Lincoln Blackwood

Don't let it happen to you. If your Ford dealer gives you a runaround or any stall or delay,contact us or call us right away, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We know what to do.

Burdge Law Office
www. US Lemon Lawyers .com
Helping People Protect Their Families from Flaming Fords Since 1978

Click here to see what your state's Lemon Law says.

Wednesday

Ford - the last one to the Battery Car Party

Nissan has its Leaf about to come out. Chevrolet, its Volt on the test track and almost ready to roll. And then there's all those other companies, like Tesla, that have had electric cars out for months already, if not years.

And then there's Ford, the last one to the party - if they get there at all.

Ford has announced that it has 5 battery powered vehicles "in the pipeline" but it only offers a hybrid gas saver for now. And the pipeline? Well that'll be two years from now, maybe. They're calling it a "slower entry" into the market. Yeah, that's like the speed that they implemented air bags too.

Our bet is that none of what Ford is saying is reality. More likely, it's "blue sky" hopes and wishes that all depend on just how well its competitors do to crack the market open in the first place. If their cars don't generate good market demand, you can likely see Ford's electric powered vehicle designs sitting on a shelf somewhere in two years.

But for now, Ford doesn't want the others to get all the press so they talk up their long-term plans that are so long term they don't have to be reality if the suits behind the blue oval change their mind.

Now that's real commitment, folks. It's also a good explanation for how we got so many Prius cars on the road too.

Monday

Toyota - Unsafe at any Cost?

Toyota's current ad campaign makes a statement that has gone largely unnoticed - but not by Ralph Nader.

Nader almost single-handedly launched the auto safety movement decades back in 1965 when he challenged General Motors with his book "Unsafe at Any Speed" and now he is taking on Toyota. He wants them to prove their latest ad claim, that they are spending $1,000,000 AN HOUR "to improve our technology and your safety."

By his calculations, Nader says, "That is an astonishing amount" that works out to $8.7 billion annually. Toyota's head of US sales, Jim Lentz, reportedly has agreed to answer Nader but it turns out that Nader isn't the only one scratching their head over Toyota's numbers. The New York Times asked earlier and got the vague answer from Toyota that the million dollar an hour comes from "all Toyota R&D spending globally, much of that allocated to new quality and safety technologies."

The whole problem, of course, comes from Toyota's attempts to come back from the disaster-public relations mess that arose from the October 2009 recall of over 9 million Toyotas for sudden acceleration and other safety problems.

So will Nader get a better explanation than the New York Times? Not likely, we bet.

Toyota's ad seems like something learned from the many highly misleading campaign ads that are running on tv more often the Toyota ads - if you believe any one side then you might as well believe the other side because all the politicians seem to be slinging the same misleading mud at each other. Personally, we don't believe any tv ads by any politician any more.

It all kind of makes you wonder if Toyota is using the same ad agency as the politicians, huh?

Changing Paper Would Save US $500 Million

With the federal deficit never ending and never lowering, there could be an easy way to make at least a half billion dollar dent in it. There is one thing they (or we) could do that would reduce the federal paperwork by over $522 million. It's simple. It's painless. And it's easy.

For the last decade the federal government has been trying to persuade Americans to make one simple change that would do it. Metal industry lobbiests and the vending machine companies got behind it.

The Government Accountability Office, the federal office that is the watchdog over all aspects of the federal government, was for it and released a report in April 200 that said it would save the government $522 million.

Citizens Against Government Waste, the folks who've been fighting congressional earmarks for years, released a report last Spring saying they were all for it. Anti-tax groups like Americans for Tax Reform gave it a thumbs up.

Heck, even the US Mint, the folks who make our money, are for it. Seems like everyone is for it but no one is doing it.

The government even spent $67 million dollars trying to get people to do it. This one simple cost-saving tip that would save the government what seems like an awful lot of money, but habits are hard to change and people just wouldn't change.

It's simple. Get rid of the dollar bill and use the dollar coin instead. The simple fact is that metal coins last longer than paper does. There's lots of wasteful spending going on in Washington, yes, but here's an example of something that you and I (and everyone else) can do right now to help stop it. Don't use dollar bills.

Now, I know that some folks are upset that when they came out with the presidential series of dollar coins some stupid designer took the "In God We Trust" phrase off the obvious face of the coin where it had been forever and put it on the coin's edge, but you don't reward one unknown person's stupidity by being stupid yourself.

In God We Trust was moved back to the coin's face in 2009 and it is still on the new dollar coins, it's just in smaller print. The rumor that it isn't on the coin at all is just a myth. And if that really bothers you, then the way to fix that is by writing a letter to all your federal elected officials and tell them to put it back on the front big and obvious.

Besides, there's plenty of those Sacagawea dollar coins (minted 2000-2006) you can use and even some of those Anthony dollar coins (minted 1979-1999) too.

Meanwhile, you can help our government save money by simply stop taking and using dollar bills. Your local bank has plenty of dollar coins for you to use. And if you really want to get adventurous and daring - well you might even start using two dollar bills too.

Neither political party may ever get around to cutting the federal deficit, but you help a little too.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers help themselves since 1978.

Hyundai Steering Recall Hits 140,000 Sonatas

The Detroit Bureau is reporting the recall of nearly 140,000 2011 Hyundai Sonata sedans because of the risk of steering loss. This alert courtesy of Allen Lucas. Do you own one of these potential lemon cars?

Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):
HYUNDAI SONATA 2011

Manufacturer:
HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY
Mfr's Report Date: SEP 23, 2010
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V426000 NHTSA Action Number: PE10035
Component: STEERING:GEAR BOX:SHAFT SECTOR Potential Number of Units Affected: 139500
Summary:

 HYUNDAI IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2011 SONATA VEHICLES MANUFACTURED FROM DECEMBER 11, 2009, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 10, 2010. ON SOME OF THESE VEHICLES THE STEERING COLUMN INTERMEDIATE SHAFT UNIVERSAL JOINT CONNECTIONS MAY HAVE BEEN EITHER IMPROPERLY ASSEMBLED OR INSUFFICIENTLY TIGHTENED.
Consequence:

 IMPROPER ASSEMBLY OR INSUFFICIENT TIGHTENING OF THE CONNECTIONS COULD RESULT IN A COMPLETE SEPARATION OR COMPROMISED ATTACHMENT OF THE CONNECTIONS, SUCH THAT THE DRIVER COULD EXPERIENCE A LOSS OF, OR REDUCTION IN, STEERING CAPABILITY INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Remedy:

 DEALERS WILL INSPECT THE STEERING COLUMN INTERMEDIATE SHAFT UNIVERSAL JOINT CONNECTIONS FOR PROPER ASSEMBLY AND TORQUE. IN ADDITION DEALERS WILL UPDATE THE POWER STEERING SOFTWARE.

Steering systems, that come apart, can be dangerous, to put it mildly. Hyundai quality has improved vastly over its early years, but every once in awhile, it happens. If you've got a lemon Hyundai Sonata, get your dealer to get it fixed before things get worse. If you get the run around, then call us. Getting rid of lemon cars is what we do. Since 1978.

Tuesday

Toyota Hid Evidence ?


Automotive News is reporting that "preliminary evidence shows that Toyota Motor Corp. hired a lawyer to destroy or hide incriminating safety documents from vehicle owners who sued the company according to the ruling from an arbitrator.

The former Toyota attorney, Dimitrios Biller, gives safety advocates new cause for alarm over what Biller has already said was a practice of hiding the truth at Toyota in lawsuits filed by injured consumers and dangerous Toyota vehicles. We alerted folks about that before on this blog.

Critical for consumer advocates, the ruling means that Toyota can't claim the internal documents Biller has been talking about are covered by "attorney client privilege." And that means the evidence can't be kept hidden by Toyota any longer.

Biller resigned from Toyota and was paid a hefty $3.7 million severance package that reportedly including keeping his knowledge secret about what Toyota's litigation tactics and strategies had been. Part of that included the so-called "Books of Knowledge" that Toyota kept, which were reportedly a collection of sensitive electronic records about design, testing and performance of Toyota vehicles. Withholding the "Books" from consumer lawyers enabled Toyota to avoid paying much larger damage awards to consumers injured in Toyota accidents, their former attorney, Biller, has claimed.

It seems that some consumer advocates are not surprised at Toyota's secrets, and perhaps the real surprise is Biller's integrity and conscience.

Meanwhile, the sudden accelleration cases continue to trod forward in California's federal court system while Biller slugs it out with Toyota. The California consumer cases may be the beneficiary of Biller's evidence coming to light, much to the dislike of Toyota.

Frankly, Biller deserves huge applause for allowing his conscience to get the better of Toyota's dollars.

Carmakers and Their YouTube Channel

The Columbus Dispatch newspaper and ColumbusCars.com published an interesting article last weekend titled Battle of the Brands. They took a weeklong look at the YouTube channels that car makers have set up to see whose looked the best, were easy to use, and got the most viewers.

When it was all over, they declared the Porsche channel to be the "best in show." But as good as it was, the most views went to BMW, which was also the newest car channel on YouTube but had roughly 12 million views. Their BMW Art Car video clip was also one of the two best video clips too and it's no wonder. Some of the top people in art lent their touches to some BMW cars and turned them into remarkable works of art graphically.

Notably, the editors said they were shocked to see how many carmakers paid so little attention to their official presence on the world's most popular video sharing site and one of the most highly trafficked web sites on the internet.

We cruised the carmakers channels and have to agree. A good example of lackluster effort is the 7 and a half minute video of a silver Mercedes going round and round a track, with a few instances of sprinklers and hoses, but not much more. It's just plain boring.

On the other hand, there's the Subaru "Lost Sunglasses" video. But, personally, we think the 2008 Subaru commercial, found here, is the best of the lot. Be sure to watch it to the end, the very end.

Then there is the AutoChannel's 4 funniest car commercials that are just hilarious too.

They can make some funny car commercials and sometimes some good, or bad video too. We don't do that. We get rid of lemon cars. Of course, there's no funny about a lemon car if you get one. When that happens, call us. Getting rid of lemon cars is what we do.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to put up with a bad car.

Sunday

A Bot Named Aida


Every once in awhile we let a guest blog on an interesting topic here. That's the case this week with the following post from Alexis Bonari who writes about an in-car robot in development by MIT and VW. We've added in-blog links to some of the content being discussed by Alexis below.


The world of driving may soon be a far more exciting experience thanks to a personal in-car robot that is currently in development.

The Affective Intelligent Driving Agent (or Aida) will be able to tell you the most efficient route home based on traffic reports, remind you to pick up petrol and suggest places you may want to visit.

The robot, which sits on top of the dashboard, is being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in collaboration with Volkswagen. Aida communicates with the driver through an expressive robotic screen and will even appear sympathetic if you're having a bad day.

Cynthia Breazeal, director of MIT's Personal Robots Group, said: "We are developing Aida to read the driver's mood from facial expression and other cues and respond in a socially appropriate and informative way."

Aida works by not only keeping track of common routes but also analyzing the driver's destinations and even their mobility patterns.

The creators have said the robot should be able to figure out work and home locations within a single week of driving with it. Soon after, the system will direct the driver to their preferred supermarket, suggesting a route that avoids traffic clogged roads. Aida might even recommend a petrol stop, while on your way to your destination, if the fuel tank is nearly empty.

The robot will also incorporate live information about local traffic jams, the weather report, commercial activity, tourist attractions, and residential areas.

"Aida embodies a new effort to make sense of these great amounts of data, harnessing our personal electronic devices as tools for behavioral support," said Professor Carlo Ratti, director of MIT's SENSEable City Lab.

"In developing Aida we asked ourselves how we could design a system that would offer the same kind of guidance as an informed and friendly companion...Aida can also give you feedback on your driving, helping you achieve more energy efficiency and safer behavior", Assaf Biderman from SENSEable City Lab added.

And over time, the project envisions something of a symbiotic relationship developing between the driver and Aida, wherein both parties learn from one another and will even establish an affective bond.

The project is a product of the collaborative effort between the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, MIT's SENSEable City Lab and the Volkswagen Group of America's Electronics Research Lab.

About the Author: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at onlinedegrees.org, researching areas of online colleges. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Monday

Ford Escape Transmission Troubles Mount Up

The Ford Escape vehicle model has had its share of troubles and they aren’t letting up. Current defect complaints now focus on the transmission more than any other defect area, with reports of erratic shifting, slipping and hesitation, but they actually go back to at least the 2003 model line.

On top of that, the car's transmission now emits what Ford is calling a "hoot" noise, but then Ford says that's just normal for a Ford Escape. Normal?

NJ attorney Howard Gutman has chronicled some of the Escape complaints for model year 2005, but the 2010 model continues what now seems to be a tradition of transmission trouble.

In an apparent attempt to curb the Escape’s transmission troubles, Ford issued a recall for replacement of the drive chain, among other parts. Owners had reported an abnormal drive train noise but some owners report the recall only decreased the noise but didn’t get rid of it.

Now, Ford is calling it a “normal vehicle characteristic.” One has to wonder if that means Ford got it as good as it can get it and now wants to just call the remaining abnormal noise, “normal.”

Normal to who might be the better question.

Meanwhile, Ford has been busy sending out repair bulletins to its dealers on the “normal” noise and the transmission and other Escape troubles. TSB 9-25-3, TSB 9-18-3, TSB 9-20-3, TSB 9-19-5, TSB 9-15-1, TSB 9-15-5, TSB 9-5-5, TB 21019, Recall 10B15, SSM 21233, are just some of the notices Ford has sent its dealers on the Escape model problems.

Some of these are computer software changes that Ford apparently hoped would salve the bumpy wounds of Escape owners. Others seem to recognize a premature wear is expected of the transmission that may end up with total failure sooner or later.

The Escape transmission model is 6F35 in at least some of the line and that seems to be the model with the most problems, including a suspected premature transmission solenoid regulator vale-bore wear defect. Reports are that part will cause or contribute to a premature wear of the pressure clutch plates and then lead to total transmission failure.

It all ends up with SSM 21233 which Ford sent out to its dealers, saying that the remaining noise is just “normal” for the engine - transmission combination. One dealer advisor blames it on the “poorly constructed and engineered” 2.5L I-4 engine in the Escape, which he says fails to properly distribute its vibrations, resonances and sound harmonics effectively, so it all runs to the transmission and the rest of the vehicle.

Reportedly the engine has more lightweight plastic materials in use and fewer parts constructed of steel or aluminum and that contributes to the Ford Escape troubles. Regardless of the cause, more owners of the defective Escape vehicles are posting their transmission troubles on youtube than ever, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The end result? The Ford Escape’s noise problem may only get louder to its owners. The sad part for many Escape owners is the word from one Ford dealership service manager that “Ford posted a message stating do not attempt to repair” the abnormal noise problem at all. And if Ford tells a dealer not to fix a defect you can bet the dealer won’t try. After all, Ford won’t pay for it and that is the only thing that drives a dealer to try to fix a warranted defect in a new car.

Maybe it’s time for Escape owners to escape from their blue oval brand loyalty?


If you’ve got a lemon Ford Escape, don’t put up with it. And don’t believe for a minute that abnormal is just “normal” in any car, only because the manufacturer decides to call it that. Get a Burdge attorney. Getting rid of lemon Ford cars and Ford lemon trucks is what we do. Everyday.

Friday

Toyota's Troubles Give Freedom to Minnesota Man in Vehicular Homicide Case


Just off the wirepress, from St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper, a Minnesota man's vehicular homicide conviction has been set aside because he was driving a Toyota Camry and the safety doubts about the car were not known at the time his car accelerated in 2006, killing 3 people.

Koua Fong Lee had been sentenced to 8 years but had always said that the car did it on its own and he couldn't control it. Even the mother and grandmother of those who died, said they were happy that Lee would be set free. Lee's runaway Toyota ran into the rear of tan Oldsmobile sedan, killing the three occupants.

On Friday a Ramsey County judge vacated the conviction, saying that Lee had not had the benefit of any of the information about Toyota and its accelerator troubles that had since come to light. The county attorney has said that they will not pursue a new trial.

The family of the victims killed in the crash have since filed suit against Toyota.

Many Toyota observers aren't surprised that Lee was released. Perhaps the only surprise is that the county wisely decided that with all the evidence that has come out, it would be a waste of effort to try to convict the man now.

Sometimes justice takes a while to happen, but it always happens sooner or later. For Lee, that came today. If you've got a lemon Toyota, don't take a chance. Get a Burdge attorney. Getting rid of lemon cars and lemon trucks is what we do. Since 1978.

Burdge Law Office
http://www.burdgelaw.com/
Helping consumers get justice every day.

Tuesday

Toyota Knew of Unintended Acceleration in 2003, Lawsuit Claims


The Washington Post is reporting that the class action case lawyers are saying that they have uncovered internal Toyota documents showing that as far back as 2003 the company knew about the problem of unintended acceleration in Toyota cars.

Apparently there is a 2003 "field report" where a company technician wrote up a case of the problem and requested immediate action because of the "extremely dangerous problem" and also said that "we are also much afraid of frequency of this problem in near future" the new court papers reportedly state.

If true, and apparently it is, then it could be the smoking gun that consumer advocates have suspected must exist.

More and more cases are being consolidated with the California class action meanwhile, including common lemon law claims arising from other defects.

Toyota sales fell slightly, 3.2% in July from a year earlier, reports the Detroit Free Press this afternoon. Their smaller models dropped too, including the Yaris, Corolla and the Prius models.

In other Toyota news, the man convicted of killing 3 people when his Toyota Camry couldn't be stopped in a 2006 crash, is before the court in St. Paul, Minn., arguing in court today that he should get a new trial since all the new evidence has come out about unintended acceleration in his and other Toyota cars.

The man, Koua Fong Lee, is serving an 8 year prison sentence and has always said that he tried to stop his 1996 Camry but the car just wouldn't let him. The prosecutors have argued that the man "hasn't come up with the decisive new evidence" that Minnesota requires for a new trial to be granted. Many observers disagree and the background story on Lee seems to point to an unexplained accident that the jury had no where to go with but to blame Lee when there was nothing to support his explanation of a runaway car.

Toyota's troubles just don't go away either. Since the sticking accelerator recalls that totalled about 9 million vehicles as of January 2010, there have been more recalls announced by Toyota and more lawsuits. Try as it might, Toyota just can't stay out of the headlines and the company's president's apology in February has not had the long-lasting effect that their public relations people had hoped for.

If you've got a lemon Toyota and the company won't take care of you, call or email us. Getting rid of lemons, and getting your money back, is what we do. Everyday.

Monday

Dirt Cheap Cars Coming? Not to US


WardsAuto.com's John McElroy recently posted an editorial about the coming rush of manufacturers to build dirt cheap cars for the third world countries and it was fascinating. McElroy is no slouch. He knows the industry and his words are worth a read.

Some folks don't recall (or didn't hear about it) when Indian car maker Tata rolled out its Nano car with the new car price of only $2,500. You can bet Detroit did. Tata is the company that bought Jaguar out of the Ford stable, so they are no one to be ignored.

McElroy wisely points out that when Detroit tries to cut the price on a new model they do it by removing the bells and whistles that so many consumers have come to expect. But Tata took a different approach. Since they were used to building motorbikes and scooters, to them building a car just meant adding features and equipment and a couple of wheels too.

The Nano didn't have airbags or antilock brakes, but for consumers in India it was a huge step up from the bicycles and mopeds they had been overloading and living with.

Detroit took notice. Now Detroit suppliers are aiming their target lower too and designing subassemblies that are targeted for cars that are less in the first place. In the process, their units got smaller and cheaper and lighter too. All of which is great if you are trying to get to a lower price car in the process.

While third world consumers will benefit, there may be a trickle down effect to US consumers in the future. Honda is working on a low cost car and Nissan and others also want their own $2,500 "or less" new car too. Chinese automaker Geely claims it is working on a plug in hybrid electric car that will price out at only $1,500.

As McElroy says, "The companies that can figure out ho to provide those customers with the vehicles they want, at a price they can afford, are going to be the winners."

Soungs like something Henry Ford may have said nearly a hundred years ago. Too bad Detroit had to lose huge chunks of market share to come full circle to Henry's reality.

Detroit car makers may never get to a $2,500 car for America, but just maybe they have realized that they can still build a good cheap car that can sell well if they just build it right in the first place, and price it cheaply too.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves, since 1978.

Wednesday

Odd Name, Odd Looks, The Future Car?


Remember when George Jetson would hop in his flying car in The Jetson's? The television cartoon series prompted dreams of having a flying car for millions of children. Well, reality has arrived.

Although it isn't a space ship, it is a flying car. Well, okay, the company calls it a roadable aircraft and not a flying car but a rose is still a rose and what makes this airplane unique is that it is also a car that can drive down the highway too.
A bunch of MIT engineer types have quietly been working on the flying car concept for years and have not only built and tested their design, but now the US federal aviation agency has approved its design and designated it to be a "Light Sport Aircraft." That's important because it means the operator only needs an easy to get (20 hours training) pilot license to be able to fly, or drive, on into the sky by himself, or herself.

Terrafugia is the name of the company and the Transition is the car-plane's model. It gets 30 mpg on the highway (not flying) and sips 5 gallons of fuel (the same that you get at your local gas station right now) to get 115 miles of airflight behind it. It can carry two passengers and it isn't for everyone but if you have ever thought you'd like to avoid highway traffic jams, this may be the way to do it.

And if you can afford the nearly $200,000 price tag, you can park one in your garage very soon. Then you can drive it to a small airfield near you, press a button, the wings automatically fold out and lock and then off you go into the wild blue yonder.

From a design point of view, it proves that if you put enough engineers in a room, you can come up with anything and that it will work. The Terrafugia Transition will fly. It works. And it does, indeed, have a market but that market is limited.

For the price tag though, you can buy a used Cessna and a new Corvette and still have $100,000 left over. Ah, that's the rub. If the price comes down, though, we could all end up flying the Terrafugia. Just like George Jetson. Who knows? It looks like it would be fun.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves, everyday.

Tuesday

Forest Rive and Heartland RV go at each other, again.

You hear a lot about frivolous lawsuits filed by people trying to make a quick buck and tying up the courts and making attorney fees and legal costs outrageously expensive for businesses. Well, there’s more to that story than meets the eye.

Most lawsuits are filed by one business against another, and not by ordinary people at all. The vast majority of attorney fees paid to attorneys are actually collected by the lawyers who are filing those lawsuits where they represent one business suing another company. Here’s a good example.

Forest River manufactures recreational motor homes out of Indiana. One of its many competitors is Heartland Recreational Vehicles, a company that also builds Rv’s. Heartland claims to be “the fastest growing RV company in the world” which probably rubs Forest River the wrong way. On top of that, the two companies are only 11 minutes and just over 6 miles apart. Turns out that those few miles are making lots of money for their lawyers.
Awhile back Heartland ran a comparative ad that showed photos of Rv’s built by “The Competition” which included the first few being pictures of the Forest River “Puma” line of Rv’s, followed by coaches built by other Rv builders. Well, that didn’t sit well with the powers that be down the road at Forest River so the company filed a lawsuit claiming the ad was misleading and violated a federal law called the Lanham Act, which prohibits false advertising.

Forest River and Heartland have been at it before in the courts. If you want to know the particulars, you can find one summary on the internet here: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/indiana/inndce/3:2008cv00490/56146/. So this isn’t their first time to the courthouse against each other.

In fact, Eric Goldman's blog article (here: http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2009/02/ambush_marketin.htm) describes some of the guerrilla fighting antics these two have been playing with for apparently years, and it makes a fascinating read to see what the lengths that one Rv company will go to in order to infiltrate and undermine the business efforts of another.

According to the more recent June 29, 2010 decision of Judge Van Bokkelen in the case in Northern District federal court in Indiana (found on Westlaw.com at 2010 WL 2674540), Forest River apparently claims that the Heartland ad “has the natural effect of misleading readers into thinking that features of other brands of trailers shown in the pictures are found in its Puma trailers, which is not true.”

The argument has been going on (this time) since last year and just keeps on going. In the end, this fight will add to the cost of the consumer products that both of them sell and it has nothing to do with spilled coffee at McDonald’s or anything else one could call “frivolous litigation.”

The plain and simple truth is that a lot of legal costs that go into consumer products is not the result of consumers suing manufacturers at all, but of one manufacturer suing another manufacturer. They just don’t paint the picture that way.

Think this is just one example? Well, Forest River sued Bird Bus Sales over that same federal law, the Lanham Act (Case No. 1:2010cv01578, filed Apr. 8, 2010), Heartland Rv (Case No. 3:2010cv00011, filed Jan. 7, 2010, copyright infringement claim), and Bechtel National (Case No. 2:2009cv06504, filed Sept. 28, 2009, product liability claim), to name just a couple.

So the next time you hear something about so-called frivolous lawsuits, just remember this example and realize that it’s only one of thousands that exist all across the country and in a courthouse near you. In fact, in a recent study, the number of federal court lawsuits fell by 79% and the number of cases that actually went to trial dropped by a whopping 78% too. At the same time, insurance company profits having been going nowhere but up, contrary to their claim about lawsuits driving up insurance rates (in one 3 year period, profits were up 62.5%, 2004-2007).

Consumers file lawsuits to find justice when they can’t find it any other way.

With big business though, could it be that it’s really just all about one company trying to make more money than another one does? True or not, that can easily be the impression the average person might get. Don't blame it on the little guy, though.

Monday

Your Cell Phone Says Something About Your Car


There's an interesting article over at TechRepublic, written by Jason Hiner, on what your type of cell phone says about you and the kind of car you probably drive. And, judging from people we know, there's more than a little truth to Hiner's thoughts.

The premise of the article is that the kind of smartphone you have says just as much about you as does the car you drive. For example, BlackBerry phones are used chiefly by corporate professionals. So it makes sense to guess that those are the types likely to drive a Cadillac CTS (the BlackBerry Bold phone model) or a Toyota Corolla (for the Curve phone) or an Audi (for the Storm model phone).

And the Nokia E71, with its great battery life, is a predictable match for a Toyota Prius owner.

The Apple iPhone 4? That probably matches up with Jaguar alright, but there aren't millions of Jaguars on the roads to match the million plus iPhone 4's that have hit the street. But the iPhone 3GS and BMW owners? Well, from personal experience we can say he hit that one on the button.

Check the list out and see if your smartphone matches up to the car you drive --- or the car that maybe you should drive --- here: "Comparing smartphones to cars". Or you can check out the photo gallery which matches up the pictures of each phone next to Hiner's idea of the car that fits its owner, here: "Photos: Comparing smartphones to cars".