According to reports, this is the biggest monetary verdict in state history as the Georgia jury has hit Ford Motor Co. with $1.7 billion involving a wrongful death suit stemming from a 2014 rollover crash that killed a couple.

Jurors delivered their verdict on punitive damages Friday following a 14-day trial in state court in Lawrenceville, Georgia, according to the attorney, Gerald Davidson.

A day earlier, the jury awarded the family of Melvin and Voncile Hill $24 million in compensatory damages and allocated 70 percent of the blame to Ford, Davidson said. The verdict couldn’t immediately be verified in court records, and as for Ford, they didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment after regular business hours.

The lawyers called dangerously defective roofs on Ford pickup trucks, lawyer James Butler Jr. said on Sunday. The jury ruled that the couple, who were grandparents at the time, would have survived the wreck if the roof of the pickup truck had not had a design flaw that made it crunch when the car rolled over.

Melvin and Voncile Hill were killed in April 2014 in the rollover wreck of their 2002 Ford F-250. Their children Kim and Adam Hill were the plaintiffs in the wrongful death case.

The gruesome photo below was taken from the scene of the crash show the pickup truck with its flattened roof. The doors, windows, and side view mirrors also appear to be severely damaged.

Voncile Hill and her husband Melvin Hill were killed when their 2002 Ford Super Duty F-250 pickup flipped over from a blown tire in 2014.

The New York Post reported:

Ford sold 5.2 million “Super Duty” trucks with weak roofs that would crush people inside during rollovers, the jury determined. The flaw was present in all “Super Duty” models between 1999 and 2016, their lawyer, James E. Butler said.

Attorneys showed evidence at the trial of nearly 80 similar wrecks where people had been killed or injured when the trucks’ roofs crushed them during rollovers.

Ford has refused to say how many similar incidents it is aware of. Nor has the car giant ever issued a recall, Butler said.

The suit also targeted Pep Boys for installing the wrong size tires on the truck, causing the blowout.

The Daily Wire added:

Last week, they were awarded $1.7 billion in punitive damages, but they will only be able to claim $425 million of that cash. The state will receive the other 75% in accordance with Georgia law.

Altogether, the Hill family is slated to receive $450 million from Ford over the tragedy.

One of the family’s lawyer’s said the couple might as well have been driving a convertible, the roof was so “useless.”

“I used to buy Ford trucks,” the family’s attorney, James Butler Jr., said on Sunday. “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,” said another of the family’s attorneys, Gerald Davidson.

In court filings, the family’s legal team cited 79 other rollover crashes that they said involved a similar flaw in the roof.

Ford plans to appeal the expensive 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 on Sunday.

The legacy American car company’s stock has sunk about 27% this year, and the company is currently worth about $60 billion.

Meanwhile, Ford is slashing about 3,000 jobs, most of which are in North America. Like many companies, Ford is attempting to cut costs as inflation stays around a 40-year high.

Sources: DailyWire, NYpost

One Response

  1. David Ballard

    I was a ‘Ford man’ for about 45 years until my Ford 500 (similar to a Taurus) began losing its transmission. I always bought new Ford cars starting back in 1971. I was told by my dealership that the transmission in the 500 couldn’t be repaired but would require complete replacement at around $6000. I then spoke directly with Ford Motor Company and they had no assistance to offer either. That’s when I bought my first import (a Toyota Camry) and haven’t had a Ford product since.


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