A judge has ruled that thousands of Ohioans can join a class-action lawsuit filed by a Cincinnati woman against the Ford Motor Company. Pat Daffin, a retiree, says she filed the lawsuit after the gas pedal in her 1999 Mercury Villager began to stick. The suit claims the auto maker knowingly made defective throttle-body assemblies on Mercury Villagers made in 1999 and 2000, causing the gas pedals to stick in the up position. U-S District Judge Susan Dlott agreed last month that the estimated seven- or eight-thousand Ohioans who bought or leased the vehicles can join the case. A Ford spokeswoman says the company will challenge the class-action certification. Company documents filed in the case indicate that Ford knew about the sticking gas pedals, but say it didn't pose an unreasonable risk.