An Orange County judge has rejected a pre-trial attempt to kill a lawsuit filed by a former Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) officer, who claims he was severely injured in Sept. 2015 when he crashed his police cruiser into a tree going 50 mph after falling unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ex-cop Brian McDowell sued Ford Motor Company, which built the basics of the Police Interceptor vehicle; Alhambra’s Bob Wondries Ford, which sold NBPD the vehicle used in the crash; and Computer Deductions, Inc. (CDI), a NBPD contractor that upgraded the vehicle to police-use specifications.
It’s the plaintiff’s contention that CDI employees drilled numerous holes to make equipment installations and that work “likely significantly altered the integrity of the seals” in the passenger cabin, creating “potential avenues or pathways for exhaust fumes to enter.”
In particular, the lawsuit identifies a one-inch hole that pierced the vehicle’s firewall and also claims no testing was conducted to identify potential problems before McDowell began using it.
Marc H. Garber, an attorney for CDI, told Superior Court Judge Glenda Sanders the lawsuit is based on “speculative arguments” of liability and negligence, and that summary judgment should be granted “because there is no triable issues of material facts which could show [his client] can be held strictly liable under a product liability theory or that they owed McDowell any duty.”
Garber also asked that McDowell’s claim of a loss of consortium with his wife should be dismissed.
This month, Sanders denied all of the defense motions.
McDowell had been a 12-year officer before the accident left him with traumatic brain injury and ended his career.
A Nov. 14 trial is currently scheduled in Santa Ana.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.