Yesterday, a court in South Carolina overturned an $18 million verdict against Ford stemming from a fatal 1999 incident involving a Ford Explorer. Their reasoning behind the reversal — an expert who testified about the vehicle’s cruise control system apparently knew nothing about cruise control systems.
The accident left the then-17-year-old driver paralyzed and killed one of her passengers when the 1995 Explorer went off an Interstate near Greenville, SC. They claimed at the time that the vehicle began to accelerate suddenly after the driver engaged the cruise control.
During the 2006 trial, an electrical engineer testified for the plaintiff. He claimed that electromagnetic radiation had interfered with the cruise control, causing the Explorer to accelerate.
But after reviewing the case, the South Carolina court ruled that the engineer should not have testified in the first place.
“He had no experience in the automobile industry, never studied a cruise control system,” wrote the state’s Chief Justice in the court’s decision. “And never designed any component of a cruise control system.”
The trial jury had ruled against Ford, awarding the driver $15 million and $3 million to the estate of the deceased passenger.
$18M award in Ford wreck overturned [Detroit News]