Ford Loses $1.7 Billion Lawsuit Over Fatal F-250 Rollover

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The automaker is appealing the verdict…

Back in 1965 Ralph Nader published his famous book, Unsafe At Any Speed, torpedoing the Chevy Corvair with claims which have since been proven false. Despite that, Nader’s crusade against perceived unsafe designs in the automotive industry touched off a movement, one which continues today. The latest battle was in court as Ford faced a crushing lawsuit over a rollover accident involving a 2002 F-250 which rolled over in an accident, killing the two occupants inside. A jury in Georgia found the automaker is liable for their deaths to the tune of $1.7 billion.

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During the trial, the focus was on whether or not “Ford and its engineers acted willfully and wantonly, with a conscious indifference for the safety of the people who ride in their cars when they made these decisions about roof strength.” Ford’s attorneys argued that was flat out not the case, while the plaintiff’s lawyers trotted out evidence of almost 80 similar rollover accidents where Ford truck roofs caved in, seriously injuring or killing the occupants.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, James Butler Jr., characterized the design of the 2002 Ford F-250’s roof as dangerously defective. “I used to buy Ford trucks,” Butler told The Associated Press. “I thought nobody would sell a truck with a roof this weak. The damn thing is useless in a wreck. You might as well drive a convertible.”

“More deaths and severe injuries are certain because millions of these trucks are on the road,” Butler’s co-counsel, Gerald Davidson, said. We’ll see if millions of people rush to sell their Ford trucks, possibly creating unbelievable prices on the used market.

Ford is of course appealing the verdict. “While our sympathies go out to the Hill family, we do not believe the verdict is supported by the evidence, and we plan to appeal,” Ford said in a statement to The Associated Press.

If you think $1.7 billion is excessive, Butler seems to disagree, saying the punitive damages should act as a warning to anyone who might be riding around in a similar Ford truck. A cynical person might ask what his cut of the $1.7 billion is, but everyone knows attorneys only seek after the truth.

Source: The Associated Press

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