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DETROIT (Reuters) - A California court of appeals on Tuesday ordered Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F - News) to pay $23.7 million to a family involved in a 1993 rollover accident after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a $290 million judgment in the same case.

Ford had called the original $290 million award to the Romo family the largest personal injury award ever upheld by an appeals court. The Supreme Court threw the damages out and sent the case back to the state court after ruling in a different case that punitive damages must be reasonable and proportionate to the harm suffered.

The damages stemmed from the crash of a 1978 Bronco near Ceres, California. Three members of the Romo family were killed and three others were injured when the vehicle overturned several times, causing the roof to cave in.

The accident occurred after the Bronco's driver, Juan Romo, swerved when he was cut off by another vehicle.

The surviving plaintiffs sued Ford, claiming the roof had been improperly designed because it did not have steel reinforcement. The jury awarded them $4.6 million in compensatory damages and $290 million in punitive damages.

A judge ordered a new trial because two jurors had shown bias. But a California appeals court reinstated the entire $290 million, and the California Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, declined to review the decision.

In Tuesday's ruling, the court said it arrived at its figure by multiplying the compensatory damages by three, and adding an additional $10 million for Ford's "extreme reprehensibility." In its original ruling, the court had said Ford's design of the Bronco amounted to involuntary manslaughter.

The court said the Romo family could reject the award and seek another trial for punitive damages.

Full Story HERE
 

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I'm sorry, but that lawsuit is just 100% B.S.!!!!! I feel sorry for the family, its a terrible loss. But the damn car is 15 years old!!! The Bronco is a big heavy truck and met the safety requirements back in the day it was built! Who knows how bad the truck was beat prior to the accident! It would be like me sueing Pontiac for not installing shoulder belts on my 67 Firebird if I were to get into an accident. Or not having ABS brakes to make me stop better then my 4 wheel drums. I swear people refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.
Even the Crown Vic lawsuits were B.S.... Come on, what vehicle is going to be able to withstand a rearend collision at over 70mph!!! Most of those cars were being hit at speeds higher than that by drunk drivers staring at the lights!
I'll probably take some heat over this... Just my thoughts!
 

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No heat given from here. Our tort system is bogus, and undermines our entire system of justice. Your example about suing over the lack of shoulder belts in your old car is not that far-fetched, sadly. People have sued because their pre-airbag cars didn't, well, have airbags. The technology was available in the '70s, so they say, so it should have been made available to all cars built after that. Well, was the technology really there? In the next courtroom down, someone else sues because they were injured by the delpoyment force of their bag! But both parties, on totally opposite sides of the fence, likely received damages!

It's not about whether the Bronco met federal requirements. It's not about whether the intention of the automakers was to make safe cars... it's all about big payouts for lawyers and the plaintiffs riding their coattails. The American version of Capitalism has migrated to a spirit of "get rich by doing nothing." Perspiration is no longer required... if people have the inspiration to drum up a legal contest in this country, inspired by big verdicts to hot-coffee-spilling old ladies, they can get rich quick.

The real cluprit is the jury system. Most often these jurors are sympathetic, anti-corporation dimwits. If you have any clue at all, the plaintiff's attorney won't let you on the jury. What these jurors miss, more than anything, is that "corporation" means "many"... the stockholders that own the company, and the workers designing these vehicles don't want to see anyone hurt. Most take great pride in building-in safety. A Bronco-like vehicle will roll over more easily than a low car. Simple physics. Yeah, sometimes the beancounters interfere with sound engineering judgement... maybe that's a lawsuit, but most cases don't fit this criteria. The jurors also miss the fact that the $290 million payouts, all of them, come out of their own -- our own -- pockets. Higher cost of cars, higher cost of insurance, an inability to get anything hotter than pi%s-warm coffee, etc...

One thing I'd do immediately is mandate that punitive damages go to something benefitting society. Use it for education, park maintenance, whatever. This money does NOT belong to plaintiffs nor their lawyers. I have long had a belief that a civil suit could be brought against our own legal system, to get back all the money taken indirectly from citizens (and directly from stockholders), who had no negligence. Just gotta find a lawyer who'll take the case :(
 

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It is a sad day indeed. :( The way the court systems work to day, I remember a survey in Canada and the USA that said how are you going to become rich? #1 answer Canada "win a lottery" # 1 answer in the USA "sue someone" But in Canada the sue someone is quickly gaining.
It's like the McDonalds Coffee not saying that it is "hot" or your salesperson not saying that SUV's handle differently or the bar maid that doesn't take you home herself so you are safe.
We all have to start taking responsability for ourselves cause our mom's won't be there all the time.
 

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 1 2003, 06:26 PM
No heat given from here. Our tort system is bogus, and undermines our entire system of justice. Your example about suing over the lack of shoulder belts in your old car is not that far-fetched, sadly. People have sued because their pre-airbag cars didn't, well, have airbags. The technology was available in the '70s, so they say, so it should have been made available to all cars built after that. Well, was the technology really there? In the next courtroom down, someone else sues because they were injured by the delpoyment force of their bag! But both parties, on totally opposite sides of the fence, likely received damages!

It's not about whether the Bronco met federal requirements. It's not about whether the intention of the automakers was to make safe cars... it's all about big payouts for lawyers and the plaintiffs riding their coattails. The American version of Capitalism has migrated to a spirit of "get rich by doing nothing." Perspiration is no longer required... if people have the inspiration to drum up a legal contest in this country, inspired by big verdicts to hot-coffee-spilling old ladies, they can get rich quick.

The real cluprit is the jury system. Most often these jurors are sympathetic, anti-corporation dimwits. If you have any clue at all, the plaintiff's attorney won't let you on the jury. What these jurors miss, more than anything, is that "corporation" means "many"... the stockholders that own the company, and the workers designing these vehicles don't want to see anyone hurt. Most take great pride in building-in safety. A Bronco-like vehicle will roll over more easily than a low car. Simple physics. Yeah, sometimes the beancounters interfere with sound engineering judgement... maybe that's a lawsuit, but most cases don't fit this criteria. The jurors also miss the fact that the $290 million payouts, all of them, come out of their own -- our own -- pockets. Higher cost of cars, higher cost of insurance, an inability to get anything hotter than pi%s-warm coffee, etc...

One thing I'd do immediately is mandate that punitive damages go to something benefitting society. Use it for education, park maintenance, whatever. This money does NOT belong to plaintiffs nor their lawyers. I have long had a belief that a civil suit could be brought against our own legal system, to get back all the money taken indirectly from citizens (and directly from stockholders), who had no negligence. Just gotta find a lawyer who'll take the case :(
I concur fully with you!
People are so quick to pass blame to others now, and now its possible to make money off passing the blame. And people wonder why this world is going to **** :flush:
 
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