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E-M:/ Rouge Steel's Insurers Sue Ford

Enviro-Mich message from "Eric Uram" <eric.uram@sierraclub.org>

March 23, 2000

DETROIT (AP) - Rouge Steel's insurers have sued
Ford Motor Co., seeking reimbursement from losses
stemming from last year's deadly explosion and
fire at a power plant.

In the $25 million lawsuit filed Tuesday in Wayne
County Circuit Court, five insurance companies
allege that negligence by Ford management was
responsible for the Feb. 1, 1999, explosion in
Dearborn that killed six workers.

Ford should pay the insurers for all insurance
costs related to the explosion, the lawsuit

The lawsuit came a week after Factory Mutual
Insurance Co. filed a U.S. District Court suit
against Ford, tentatively seeking $134 million on
similar grounds.

Factory Mutual insured Rouge Steel at a greater
amount than the five other insurance companies in
Tuesday's lawsuit.

Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said there was ``no
basis'' for last week's suit and that the company
hadn't been served with Tuesday's suit.

Last September, the state fined Ford $1.5 million
for safety violations at the power plant. Ford
also paid about $30 million to settle lawsuits and
agreed to give $5 million to researchers and
hospital burn units.

Ford spokesman Nick Sharkey has said no single
cause led to the blast. He said the company met
safety standards at the plant.

Ford and steel-maker Rouge Industries Inc. shared
power from the plant. Company records indicate
that several engineering studies recommending
safety changes at the plant were ignored.

Three officials from each company sat on a
six-person committee that oversaw the plant's

But only Ford employees were workers in the plant,
and _ the lawsuits allege _ the automaker had
responsibility for the day-to-day operation.

Ford has said that since the accident, it has
spent millions of dollars on upgrading safety
systems at its sites nationwide.

Eric Uram
Sierra Club Midwest Office
214 North Henry Street Suite 203
Madison, WI  53703-2200
(608) 257-4994
(608) 257-3513 fax

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