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Published: Tuesday, 4/16/2013

Sylvania Township trustees settle lawsuit with Pa. manufacturer of faulty fire trucks

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania Township trustees today agreed to settle a lawsuit with the manufacturer of three faulty fire trucks the fire department purchased in 2008.

The trustees unanimously agreed to settle a lawsuit they filed in March 2012 against Pennsylvania-based Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corp regarding three fire trucks that township officials say have had numerous mechanical and operational issues since the fire department purchased them for $1.16 million.

The township initially filed the complaint in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. It was later moved to federal court per KME''s request in April 2012. 

Assistant Lucas County prosecutor John Borell, acting as law director for the township, said the parties agreed to a non-monetary settlement. The agreement, which he expects to file in federal court, outlines the services and repairs KME will perform on each truck over the next several months for the vehicles to be fully operational and in good condition.

“I think it was the best we can do. I’m hopeful KME will be able to take care of the repairs and return the trucks to us so we can use them for the next 10 to 15 years,” Fire Chief Jeff Kowalski said.

Mr. Borell said that the trucks were “essentially defective from day one and required constant repair.” Although the trucks were used by the department, Mr. Kowalski said the in-house mechanic was constantly servicing them. The list of issues include the exhaust systems, gauges, the cabs of the trucks, paint chipping, coolant leakage, and faulty air conditioner compressors. There were also problems with the engines and transmission, which are under a 10-year warranties.

Trustee Kevin Haddad said that the court ruled early that the lemon law did not apply to the case.

In addition to paying for the costs to have each truck towed by flat bed truck to its headquarters in Nesquehoning, Pa., the company will extend the 10-year warranties on each truck starting on the day the last of the three trucks is returned and determined to be in good condition by the fire department. While the trucks are rotated for repairs that are expected to take about four to six weeks each, the fire department will have one leased fire truck paid for by the KME to replace the vehicle in its emergency fleet.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com.



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