A $4.5 million verdict was returned last month by a Nevada state court jury against Ford Motor Co. The jurors found the roof of an Excursion model SUV to be defectively designed, causing the death of a passenger following a single-vehicle rollover accident. The passenger, Rafael Trejo, died at the scene of the accident in 2009 after suffering a broken neck. The driver, Teresa Trejo, had attempted to change lanes while making room for a vehicle merging into traffic from an entrance ramp. As the Trejos vehicle changed lanes, a trailer attached to their 2000 Ford Excursion XLT began to sway, causing the vehicle to roll over.
Rafael Trejo was killed when the vehicle’s weight crushed the roof onto his head. Ford contended that the roof was not defectively designed and that Mr. Trejo died as a result of the rollover accident itself. The Plaintiff offered evidence that Ford was not acting in a responsible manner in designing this vehicle. The Plaintiff presented evidence that Ford never adequately tested the ability of the Excursion’s roof to support the vehicle’s weight in a rollover scenario. Ford claimed that the roof was designed properly and was not defective.
Teresa Trejo is represented by Jody Mask and Ricardo Garcia of Garcia Ochoa Mask, located in McAllen, Texas, and Larry Lawrence, lawyer from Austin, Texas, and Bill Killep from Henderson, Nev. They did a very good job in this case, which was tried in the Eighth Judicial District Court for Clark County, Nev.