For Facing Sanctions for Mistrial in Wrongful Death Lawsuit
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA- Blog.cvn.com writes that Judge Shawn Bratton issued sanctions against Ford in relation to a lawsuit that stemmed from a tragic rollover accident in 2014. The Judge found that Ford had “forced” the court to declare a mistrial by eliciting certain testimonies. Ford’s actions were described as intentional, and the Judge said the company had already been warned about their wrongful actions, but had continued their in appropriate behavior, and acted in “bad faith.” Ford is now precluded from “challenging its underlying fault” in the deaths of Melvin and Voncile Hill.*
The automaker will not be able to argue that it is not at fault for a design defect or a failure to warn. Instead, there will be a trial to determine the appropriate amount of damages and to decide if the company should be required to pay punitive damages.
The source of the lawsuit, the 2014 rollover crash, occurred in Americus, Georgia on SR 49. The Hills were both killed when their 2002 Ford Super Duty F-250 flipped after a tire blowout. The roof of the truck cabin was crushed, and the victims’ family claimed the roof was not designed properly and that it was too weak to be considered safe for vehicle occupants.
Ford’s attorneys were prohibited from bringing up issues about whether the Hills wore their seatbelts and about a toxicology report conducted on Melvin Hill. Despite the orders, the company’s representatives continued to ask questions that were barred. The Court also ruled that the defense expert Dr. Thomas McNish was not permitted to give an opinion on Mr. Hill’s cause of death, but that the doctor was asked to give such an opinion in clear violation of another order.
Ford has expressed their intent to appeal the rulings.
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