No Wrongful Death Against Ford

December 12, 2007

Jury Rejects Wrongful Death, Injury Claims Against Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. is not responsible for the deaths of two people and injuries to at least eight others as a result of a rollover crash on an Interstate highway in Kansas in 2003, a jury ruled Tuesday.[…]The lawsuit alleged Ford was at fault for poor design but the Washington County Circuit Court jury rejected claims that inherent problems with the handling and stability of the van caused the crash. Jurors also rejected claims that the van was not crashworthy.

Ford contended the accident happened because Cripps fell asleep, allowing the van to drift into a guard rail. It then shot back across the road before flipping several times. Ford said the van also had the wrong tires on it, which could have contributed significantly to the accident. A heavy trailer being towed behind the van could also have contributed, according to Ford.
Attorneys said Ford extensively tested the vans, which were sold from the 1970s into the 1990s, and found them to be safe and stable. They also said the van’s roof performed as it should and did not fail structurally.

Plaintiff’s attorneys told jurors the E-250 van was unstable and prone to rollover because of its design but did nothing to change it. They said Ford knew about the problem for years but didn’t fix it. They also said the van’s roof failed, allowing passengers to be ejected, because it wasn’t structurally strong enough. And, they argued Cripps didn’t fall asleep.

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