Ford Asks For New Trial After $1.7 Bln Jury Verdict In Truck Rollover Case

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Ford Motor Co. is seeking a new trial in a Georgia court after a jury reached a $1.7 billion verdict in a lawsuit against the automotive major regarding a truck rollover accident, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In the new court filings, Ford said it was unfairly precluded from providing evidence and thus defending against claims that its trucks were defective.

A jury in Georgia in August had imposed $1.7 billion punitive damages against Ford after a three-week trial.

The fatal accident in 2014 that involved Ford F-250 had killed a couple. The family sued Ford, alleging that the truck's roof design was faulty and vulnerable to collapse during a rollover crash.

As per court documents, Melvin and Voncile Hill were driving from their farm in Georgia, and the couple's heavy-duty truck rolled over after the right front tire blew out. The Hills were crushed inside the truck.

At the trial, Hill family lawyers argued that the roofs on Ford's Super-Duty trucks made between the 1999 and 2016 model years had a defective design and were dangerously weak. They also accused that the company was aware of the roof's risks.

The plaintiffs' lawyers also noted that Ford has identified 162 lawsuits involving roof-crush incidents in the 1999-2016 Super-Duty trucks.

Meanwhile, Ford noted that a state judge in 2018 effectively barred it from defending itself against Hill family's claims that the truck's roof design was defective.

Ford argued that the truck involved in the fatal incident was safe and the roof structure was stronger than many other automakers. According to the firm, the tire installed on the couple's truck had the incorrect load-carrying capacity resulting that to fail.

In the latest filings, Ford added that at trial it couldn't sufficiently show other possible factors that could have contributed to the fatalities. These included its contention that the deceased weren't properly wearing their seat belts.

Out of the two motions filed in state court of Gwinnett County in Georgia, one motion asked for new trial and the second one challenged the punitive damages imposed on the company.

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