Ford 2000 E-350

While the Ford-tough legal team battles a fuel tank explosion trial in Madison County, another lawsuit against the auto giant has erupted in St. Clair County.

James Haynes claims that a Ford 2000 E-350 club wagon van he was riding in was poorly designed, which resulted in a crash that caused him serious bodily injuries, according to a suit filed April 8 in the 20th Circuit Court.

Haynes is seeking at least $400,000 in damages for head, neck and back injuries, negligence, product liability, and violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. The suit also names Auffenburg Ford, an O'Fallon dealership.

According to the complaint, the accident took place Jan. 31, 2003, on Marybelle Avenue in East St. Louis.

"The van in question began rocking, swaying, swerving, and fishtailing on the roadway causing the driver to lose control causing the van to roll over onto its driver’s side and crashing onto a ditch," the suit states.

The van's center of gravity was too high, causing it to become top heavy and unstable, Haynes alleges.

The accident also caused Haynes to suffer “apprehension of impending death...great fright, terror, and emotional and mental anguish," the complaint states.

Haynes is represented by Caseyville attorney Susan M. Settle.

Meanwhile in Madison County, Brad Lakin of the Lakin Law Firm, will argue that a crash that killed John Jablonksi and severely burned his wife, Dora, could have been prevented if Ford would have listened to engineers who alerted the manufacturer in 1978 that locating gas tanks behind a rear axle posed a hazard. Jablonski was driving a 1996 Lincoln Town Car.

In its second week, the trial is expected to continue until the end of April. Ford is represented by Jim Feeney who was part of the legal team in the Crown Victoria class action lawsuit which a Belleville jury found in favor of Ford.

05 L 226 (20th Circuit)

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