MONTGOMERY, ALA. (March 12, 2010) – A Montgomery County jury awarded the estate of Catherine Parker $2.75 million against Ford Motor Company today. Parker was killed in July 2007 when her 1999 Ford Explorer rolled over during a crash. Beasley Allen attorneys Benjamin E. Baker, J. Cole Portis and J. Greg Allen represented Parker’s estate against defendant Ford Motor Company.
The jury determined that the Explorer was defective by design because the roof structure is too weak in the event of a rollover crash. The evidence in the case revealed that the roof structure on this particular vehicle was only tested two times by Ford Motor Company and in one of those occasions it failed to even meet the minimum Federal Motor Safety Standard for roof strength. The trial lasted three weeks, with numerous experts from throughout the country providing testimony. The jury deliberated for several hours before returning the verdict.
“I hope this sends a message to Ford Motor Company that they should not design their roof structures down to the minimum federal strength requirements of one-and-a-half times the weight of the Explorer,” said Allen. “That’s inadequate for a rollover. It is a shame that people don’t have any way of knowing the roof strength of their vehicle. They have to rely on the manufacturer’s word. Ford says its ‘quality is Job 1,’ but apparently it is not, with tragic results in this case.”
Beasley Allen has several similar cases currently pending because of the same defect.