Ford to Appeal $1.7B Verdict in Truck Crash Case

Photo: Bloomberg [via The Wall Street Journal]

The Facts

  • Ford Motor Co. said Sunday it will appeal a Georgia jury's ruling that it should pay $1.7B in punitive damages over a fatal car crash involving one of its older-model pick-up trucks.

  • The children of a couple who died in April 2014 after crashing their 2002 F-250 model sued Ford, arguing the company knowingly sold trucks with dangerously defective roofs vulnerable to rollovers to save money.

The Spin

Narrative A

With evidence showing that the billion-dollar company's negligence resulted in the deaths of two individuals, this verdict is more than reasonable. There are millions of these defective trucks on the road, and this will hopefully send a message to both consumers and manufacturers.

Narrative B

While this is a tragic case, the $1.7B verdict is out of proportion: In the past, SCOTUS has ruled that punitive damage awards shouldn't exceed nine times the amount of compensatory damages. Ford will likely be able to recoup some of the awarded funds.

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