Two years ago, federal officials crashed this stolen Ferrari F50 in Kentucky, seized as part of a drug bust. Now the insurance company is suing the U.S. government, saying it's stonewalling over $750,000.
The 1995 Ferrari F50 had been reported stolen from a Pennsylvania dealership in 2003, and Motors Insurance paid for the claim. When federal agents found the F50 in Kentucky in 2008, they contacted Motors Insurance, but held onto the vehicle during a trial.
On May 27, 2009, an FBI agent and an assistant U.S. attorney took the Ferrari for a drive. According to an email from the assistant U.S. attorney sent just hours after the crash:
"While at the garage with several officers and agents, it was necessary to move the vehicle. The agent and officers asked if I would like to take a short ride while it was being moved, and I agreed. Just a few seconds after we left the parking lot, we went around a curve, and the rear of the car began sliding. The agent tried to regain control, but the car fishtailed and slid sideways up onto the curb. The vehicle came to rest against a row of bushes and a small tree."
Although the email reads as if the F50 merely took a few bumps and scratches, the photos show that the carbon-fiber frame of the supercar was broken, totaling the vehicle. Three weeks later, officials told Motors Insurance it could file a claim for the damages, but in March 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice denied the insurer's request for $750,000 — the street value of the car at the time — saying the wreck "took place while the Ferrari was being detained by the FBI" and that Motors was therefore not entitled to any payment.
After appealing the decision, Motors Insurance filed Freedom of Information Act requests related to the car, the crash and the policies of the Justice Department and FBI. Outside of the email above, neither agency has released any information, either not responding to requests or claiming the information does not have to be provided.
In the lawsuit filed in Detroit today, Motors Insurance asked a federal judge to force the agencies to turn over the information; there's a statue of limitations for filing another lawsuit over the value of the F50 that runs out on March 13.
A Justice Department spokesman told The Detroit News the agency was still considering its response. For a collection of lawyers, they sure seem reticent to cite the age-old precedent of You Broke It vs. You Buy It.
Photo Credit: WreckedExotics.com