Ford to Appeal $1.7B Verdict in Truck Crash Case

    Ford to Appeal $1.7B Verdict in Truck Crash Case
    Last updated Aug 23, 2022
    Image credit: Bloomberg [via The Wall Street Journal]


    • 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.[1]
    • 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.[2]
    • The plaintiffs' attorneys argued Ford sold the defectively designed trucks made between 1999 and 2016, despite alleged evidence the models failed internal company testing.[3]
    • The attorneys also submitted evidence of around 80 similar crashes involving roofs being crushed, adding that "[m]ore deaths and injuries are certain because millions of these trucks are on the road."[4]
    • The jury last week allocated 70% of the blame to Ford, and awarded the family of the deceased couple $24M in compensatory damages. The other 30% of the blame was given to Pep Boys automotive service, which was found to have installed the wrong-sized tires.[2]
    • Though Ford says it will appeal, the full scope of the damages is yet to be settled. Its stock fell steeper than the broader market Monday, and a potential forced recall by the govt. could lead to more costs.[3]


    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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