Network Firm News

Monday, January 15, 2007

Despite one dead and another seriously injured passenger in a rollover accident, a jury found for Ford Motor Company after a four month trial. Snell & Wilmer attorneys Dan Rodman and Hoot Gibson represented Ford.

Plaintiffs sought $18M (including $5M in punitive damages) alleging manufacturing and design defects in a 1995 Ford Aerostar minivan that crashed and overturned after tread separated on its left rear tire. The jury also rejected claims that the van's roof design was defective and that Ford failed to warn the public of the car’s alleged defects.

Six passengers were in the minivan when it rolled 4 times, ejecting one passenger and fracturing the spine of another. The driver suffered minor injuries. The other three passengers were not hurt.

Plaintiffs claimed that a defect in a component of the van's rear suspension led to the crash by breaking prior to the accident causing the tire to blow out resulting in the van swerving to the right, going off the road and rolling over. Plaintiffs also claimed that the van's roof was too weak and crushed inward during the rollover, causing injuries.

Whether the injured passenger was wearing a seat belt was a question disputed by Ford.

Medical bills stemming from the crash allegedly are close to $300,000, and future medical care allegedly will cost $4M.

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