Network Firm News

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. announced today that it recently received a defense verdict for Ford Motor Company, successfully defeating claims of defective design and negligence related to a stall condition that previously led Ford to issue a safety recall for the Ford Escape vehicle model involved in the disputed crash. The August 15, 2007 decision came after a nine day trial in which plaintiffs sought $12 million in damages.

Canales v. Ford Motor Company was tried by Snell & Wilmer partner Brad Petersen and attorney Jaime Saenz. The case arose from a rollover accident when the driver lost control and drove into a drainage ditch. Despite wearing a seatbelt, a passenger was ejected suffering fatal injuries. Plaintiff claimed that the accident resulted from a stall due to a condition that previously led Ford to recall more than 330,000 vehicles, but that had not been repaired on her car.

The defense's opening statement focused on four themes:

• Speeding caused the accident.
• The vehicle did not stall.
• A stall would not cause the required braking or steering dynamics.
• The passenger did not wear his seatbelt.

After less than one hour of deliberations, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict for Ford on all causes of action against it.

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