More than seven years after a San Diego jury awarded Benetta Buell-Wilson $369 million against Ford Motor Co. it looks like she will finally get paid. Ms. Buell-Wilson suffered a severed spinal cord when the Ford Explorer she was driving overturned on I-8. The jury found that Ford failed to follow its own engineer’s advice to widen the Explorer wheel track or lower its center of gravity because the safety improvements would have been too costly. Ford, the jury determined, knew its Explorer would roll easily but deliberately ignored the risk.
After the verdict, Ms. Buell-Wilson was subject to relentless appeals by Ford, who must have spent additional millions to try to get the verdict overturned. It had some success in getting the award reduced, but its final attack was an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the punitive damages assessed against it ($246 million by the jury, reduced to $55 million afterward) were unconstitutional and illegal under California law. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Dennis Schoville and Lou Arnell, two of San Diego’s finest personal injury lawyers, believe Ms. Buell-Wilson may finally get some of the justice a jury believed she deserved. It’s been seven years since the verdict and she hasn’t seen a penny. Mr. Schoville told the San Diego Union Tribune, “It’s been a long haul, but this is the end of the line for Ford.”
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
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