Greg Schuck, Paul Malek and Jennifer Reid of Huie, Fernambucq & Stewart successfully defended Ford Motor Company in a wrongful death product liability case involving the death of a passenger in a Ford Explorer Sport. After less than two hours of deliberation, a jury in Louisville, Kentucky reached a unanimous verdict in favor of Ford.
The case arose out of a single vehicle crash in Louisville. The driver of the Ford Explorer Sport lost control of the vehicle when he entered a winding road traveling in excess of the speed limit. One of the passengers, while riding in the cargo area of the vehicle without an available seat or seat belt, was ejected and fatally injured when the vehicle rolled over.
The plaintiffs, parents of the deceased passenger, claimed that the vehicle was defective in its handling and stability, and in its use of tempered glass in the side windows. Plaintiffs’ counsel sought $38 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Ford was able to prove that the Explorer Sport was reasonably safe, met all applicable motor vehicle safety standards and was not defective. Ford further established that the plaintiffs’ proposed alternative designs would not have changed the outcome of this crash. After hearing all of the evidence, the jury unanimously found in favor of Ford Motor Company, concluding that the Ford Explorer Sport was reasonably safe and caused neither the accident nor the occupant’s death.