Network Firm News

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dykema successfully represented Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) in a product liability jury trial. After a six-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ford after two days of deliberations. The case involved a post-collision fire involving a 2003 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (“CVPI”).

The case arose from a May 22, 2003 accident, which resulted in the death of State Trooper Michael Newton, and burn injuries to Michael Nolte. The case was originally tried in 2005 to a verdict in favor of Ford, but a new trial was ordered by the State Supreme Court. Mr. Nolte and his wife, Barbie Nolte, were the only plaintiffs in the retrial.

Plaintiffs asked the jury for more than $47 million in damages, claiming the CVPI was defective because of the location of its fuel tank, the location and design of its filler neck and because of manufacturing defects in the welding of the rear structure. Ford showed the CVPI included various features which have made it the top selling police vehicle for nearly a decade, that it had met Ford’s industry-leading rear crash requirements, including rear crash testing at 75 mph and that no vehicle was designed to perform in accidents of this severity.

“This accident and the injuries that occurred were clearly unfortunate, but Ford Motor Company’s CVPIs are not defective , said James P. Feeney, lead counsel for Ford Motor Company and a member of Dykema’s Litigation Department and Automotive Industry Team. “We are pleased to have worked with Ford Motor Company to see this matter through to a favorable completion.”

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