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Ford Explorer litigation I am writing regarding “Another year of hard times for plaintiffs” [ NLJ, Feb. 26] that accompanied the NLJ’s “Verdicts Roundup.” Ford is disappointed that we were never contacted to comment on your discussion of our approach to litigation concerning the Ford Explorer. Had we been given that opportunity, we would have told you that, in 2006, we tried 15 Explorer cases with eight resulting in defense verdicts, five resulting in mistrials/retrials (mostly because of misconduct by plaintiffs’ attorneys) and only two resulting in plaintiffs’ verdicts (one of which did not make VerdictSearch’s “top 100″ list). In total, we tried more than 70 products liability, commercial and employment cases in 2006 and prevailed in nearly 90% of them. These results show that Ford remains committed to defending its people and products against unfounded allegations, even in difficult jurisdictions. As for what 2007 will bring, so far we have tried 18 products liability and employment cases and prevailed in all but two of them (for amounts that would not have made the 2006 “top 100″ list). The NLJ should have contacted us for the facts before publishing plaintiffs’ propaganda. In the future, we hope that the NLJ will offer us the opportunity to provide a response and, at the very least, incorporate perspective and balance. DAVID LEITCH DEARBORN, MICH. The writer is senior vice president and general counsel at the Ford Motor Co. Immigration judges Stacy Caplow’s opinion piece, “Bullies on the bench” [ NLJ, March 5] contains many factual errors. For example: Ms. Caplow states that immigration judges are political appointees, but actually they are career employees within the Department of Justice (DOJ). Ms. Caplow indicates there is no oversight of the immigration judge corps and that they are “accountable to no one other than the attorney general.” This assertion ignores the oversight that DOJ leadership, the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the chief immigration judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Office of Professional Responsibility, the inspector general, the circuit courts of appeal and the Government Accountability Office have over either the conduct or the decisions of immigration judges. Ms. Caplow states that the attorney general needs to call in outside specialists, but she fails to recognize that the attorney general’s initiatives announced last August were developed after extensive consultation with groups outside DOJ. Ms. Caplow’s notion that the circuit courts have “consistently found” problems with immigration judge decisions is baseless, as shown by the fact that they uphold 86% of immigration judge decisions nationwide. KEVIN D. ROONEY FALLS CHURCH, VA. The writer is director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Wrong analogy James L. Huffman’s analogy in the opinion piece “A different context” [ NLJ, March 19] comparing the Guant�namo Bay detainees’ lawyers to Justice John G. Roberts Jr., is not remotely apt. The analogy fails on two levels. First, there is a significant difference in the reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the representation. It is not reasonable to infer that a criminal defense attorney is in favor of crime. However, it is reasonable to infer that, for example, an insurance defense attorney supports insurance companies. Likewise, it is reasonable to infer that Justice Roberts holds certain opinions about congressional power, affirmative action, civil rights and so forth, based on positions he vigorously asserted in various documents. However, it is not reasonable to infer, as Charles Stimson apparently did, that the Gitmo defense attorneys support terrorists and terrorism simply because they have chosen to represent people accused of having links to terrorism. At most, we can infer that these attorneys have a broad view of the rights of criminals and those accused of crime. Contrast this with Justice Roberts, who said that affirmative action was wrong, that congressional power was too broad, etc. Yes, he was doing this as part of a paid job, but if he did not agree with those positions, he could have taken another job that required him to express opinions more in line with his thinking. Second, there is a significant difference in the situation. Justice Roberts was an unusually young man being considered for the highest position on the highest court in the land. His opinions will shape the law of the land for a generation. It is appropriate to consider the positions he has taken, even if he did so as part of a paid job, to make inferences about the decisions he will make in the future. The Gitmo defense attorneys are not in such a situation. If they were being considered for a position on the Supreme Court, it would certainly be appropriate to consider the possibility that they might be soft on crime, given their history of defending people accused of links to terrorism. But Stimson wasn’t talking about qualifications for the Supreme Court; he was talking about a boycott of anybody who defended detainees. TRACEY RICH WILMINGTON, DEL.

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