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Unanimous Defense Verdict for Ford

Products Liability Litigation / 2017

Client: Ford Motor Company
Opponent: Nathaniel Wallace
Type of case: Products liability
Court: Federal District Court, Southern District of Mississippi
Length of trial: Six days
Amount in dispute: Approximately $2.5 million
Result: Defense verdict for Ford Motor Company

Plaintiff was a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper who was injured when his state-issued 2008 Ford Crown Victoria left the roadway and hit a tree at approximately 55 miles per hour. Plaintiff alleged that a ball-joint bolt from the lower control arm broke, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and hit the tree. Plaintiff claimed that the fractured bolt was a result of a manufacturing defect. A fact witness for Plaintiff testified that the broken bolt was found 200 feet upstream of the tree impact.

Ford contended that the ball joint stud broke as a result of the high speed impact with the tree and that the vehicle can be steered properly even without the bolt. Ford's expert metallurgist testified that tests conducted on the broken bolt established fracture patterns consistent with impact force rather than fatigue fracture as alleged by Plaintiff. The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict for Ford.

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