Watson v. Ford

VERDICT

Trial
07/17/06 – 08/06/06

Play button overlay 45f08f27c7337d189e8c31e635b5d0a0781b273131135cd77ee8b6f12366e7a2
Play button overlay 45f08f27c7337d189e8c31e635b5d0a0781b273131135cd77ee8b6f12366e7a2

Summary

A sudden acceleration Ford Explorer car crash left a passenger dead and the 17 year-old driver with a broken neck, brain injury, and paralyzed, allegedly due to a defective cruise control and defective safety belts.

The plaintiff alleged that she tapped the cruise control in the 1995 Explorer (UN105), and the vehicle started to accelerate uncontrollably to 70 or 80 miles per hour, and eventually fishtailed and rolled over.

The vehicle's TRW safety belts allegedly came undone due to an inertial unlatch defect, ejecting the plaintiff and another passenger.

During a prior episode of sudden acceleration involving the same vehicle, mechanic D&D Motors allegedly misdiagnosed the cause of the sudden acceleration as due to the driver's side floor mat, which had been placed upside down. Instead, according to the plaintiff, the cruise control malfunctioned due to electromagnetic interference (EMI). The EMI could have been protected against, said the plaintiff, by the use of twisted pairs or an off switch that cut electricity to the cruise control.

The defendant alleged that the vehicle was not under power while it was out of control. The accelerator was not defective, and did not cause the accident. According to the defendant, the vehicle performed well when the 17 year-old driver lost control, and the plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt.

The plaintiff alleged that the safety restraint system, the cruise control system, and the Ford Explorer itself as a whole, was unreasonably dangerous.

The jury found in favor of the plaintiff on both negligence and product liability claims as to the speed control system, but not the seat belts, awarded total compensatory damages of $18M.

Outcome

Jury found for the plaintiff- $18m award.

Sessions

JUL
18
JUL
24
JUL
27
JUL
31
AUG
1
AM Session
Defense Witness(es)
3 Chapters
PM Session
Defense Witness(es)
3 Chapters
AUG
2
AM Session
Defense Witness(es)
2 Chapters
AUG
3
AUG
6

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