Network Firm News

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Nov. 20, 2006: Snell lawyers Warren Platt and Elizabeth McNulty took a defense verdict in Guerrero v. Ford Motor Company, the first Explorer rollover trial in California since Buell-Wilson (there a California jury awarded plaintiffs more than $350 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damges).

The Guerrero lawsuit arose from a single vehicle, on-road rollover accident involving a 1996 Ford Explorer. After allegedly feeling a "bump in the road," Plaintiff Maria Guerrero proceeded to make several wild steering maneuvers, which ultimately caused the vehicle to rollover. Two unbelted passengers were ejected from the vehicle: one died, and one is in a persistent vegetative state due to severe brain injuries. Plaintiffs claimed more than $60 million compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.

Plaintiffs' case focused on the Explorer's rollover resistance, but also alleged that the seatbelts were defective. At the conclusion of plaintiffs' case-in-chief, Ford successfully moved for a directed verdict on plaintiffs' punitive damages claim.

After nearly three months of trial and five days of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict. Paralegal Stephanie Beville assisted. Senior Attorney Amy Leinen and associates Brendan Ford and Anne Marie Ubl also participated in the case.

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