According to a press release dated August 24, 2004, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of this action. The Judge Panel rejected arguments that Ford misled investors by repeatedly touting its quality as "its best ever" and stating "quality comes first." "Such statements are either mere corporate puffery or hyperbole that a reasonable investor would not view as significantly changing the general gist of available information," Judge Cornelia G. Kennedy wrote for the court.
The original complaint claims that the company misled investor about the safety of tires on Ford Explorers. A group of Ford shareholders, including the Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 98 and the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, filed suit in 2000.
Dismissal Upheld by Appellant Court Ruling. More specifically, the complaint charges Ford Motor Company and certain of its officers with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Commission. The lawsuit alleges that defendants issued a series of false and misleading statements during the Class Period concerning the quality and safety of its products. The complaint alleges, "inter alia", that defendants failed to reveal that recalls of the Ford Explorer in combination with Firestone tires were occurring in foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, and that the company failed to adequately test the tires on the Ford Explorer before it went into production. The complaint also asserts that defendants' misleading statements and material omissions artificially inflated the price of the Company's stock during the Class Period.