A Georgia jury issued a $3 million verdict against Ford Motor Co. for compensatory damages in a case in which a woman died when the seat back of her car broke when it was rear-ended in an accident.
Mary Reese, 76, of suburban Augusta, Ga., was killed after her 1994 Ford Tempo was struck from behind by a truck that carried gravel. Her car went down a steep embankment and Reese was hospitalized with spinal and head injuries. She died 23 days later.
The Cobb County civil jury issued the verdict on Nov. 11, awarding Reese’s adult children compensatory damages but not punitive damages. The plaintiffs had argued the company knew or should have known the seat design was defective.
“We think the award was unfair and we intend to appeal,” said Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley.
In the trial, Ford claimed the seats were made to protect front-seat passengers by yielding and absorbing the energy of a rear-end crash. The company said the severity of the crash, instead of the car seat, was responsible for Reese’s death.
The suit was heard in Cobb County because the company’s registered agent for the state is in that county.
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