Jury awards $1.7 billion in damages to family of couple killed in Ford F-250 rollover

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Jury awards $1.7 billion in damages to family of couple killed in Ford F-250 rollover

By Dave LaChance
on
Legal

Ford Motor Co. intends to appeal a jury verdict ordering it to pay $1.7 billion in damages for a 2014 pickup truck rollover in which a Georgia couple was killed, multiple reports have source of information.

Melvin Hill, 72, and his wife, Voncile, 62, died in April 2014 when their 2002 Ford F-250 pickup overturned. The couple’s children, Kim and Adam Hill, had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the OEM, alleging that a faulty roof design on the truck was responsible for their parents’ deaths.

The Hills were driving from their farm in Reynolds, Georgia when a tire failed and the truck rolled over, crushing them.

After a 14-day trial, jurors in Gwinnett County, Georgia, returned their verdict on Friday, awarding Ford $1.7 billion in punitive damages. The verdict was filed in court on Monday.

The OEM has denied the family’s accusations ‘that Ford and its engineers acted willfully and wanton, with a conscious disregard for the safety of the people who drive in their cars when making these decisions about roof strength “, said defense attorney William Withrow Jr. in his closing arguments, according to an excerpt from a court transcript published by The Associated Press.

According to a press release issued by the family’s attorneys, the jury awarded 70% of the blame to Ford. The rest was attributed to Pep Boys, who “erroneously installed the wrong size or ‘load range’ tires on the Hills truck in 2010.”

Jim Butler Jr., the attorney who won the verdict, told CNN that evidence presented in the case showed that F-250s made in the 17 model years before 2017 all posed a risk to drivers and passengers in the event of a rollover.

Ford released the following statement on the verdict to CNN: “While our sympathies are with the Hill family, we do not believe the verdict is supported by evidence and we plan to appeal. In the meantime, we will not be pleading this case through the news media.

Butler conceded to CNN that the $1.7 billion verdict would likely be reduced on appeal. He said the plaintiffs pursued litigation in hopes of warning motorists about the truck roofs.

During the trial, plaintiffs’ attorneys presented evidence of nearly 80 similar rollover accidents involving crushed truck roofs and injured or killed motorists, Butler’s law firm, Butler Prather LLP, said in a statement. statement reported by Reuters.

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Featured image by Gwengoat/iStock

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