The Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision on Thursday, March 25, 2021, that will make it easier to sue nationwide automobile companies for alleged vehicle defects. Ford Motor Company appealed to the Supreme Court after unsuccessfully trying to dismiss two lawsuits filed against it. The lawsuits were brought by the victims of two motor vehicle accidents. Ford argued that the victims could not sue in Minnesota or Montana because the cars involved in the accidents were not originally sold there. Rather, according to Ford, it could be sued only in states where the vehicles were actually designed, manufactured, or sold.
In its decision, the Court unanimously rejected Ford’s argument, explaining that “the connection between the plaintiff’s claims and Ford’s activities in those states…is close enough” to allow the lawsuits to proceed. Because Ford markets, sells, and services its products nationwide, the Court ruled that state courts could consider product liability lawsuits against the company. Ford is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Michigan but, as the Court explained, “its business is everywhere.” The opinion makes clear that Ford cannot limit the ability of injured individuals to hold manufacturers accountable for defective products by restricting where the lawsuits can be filed. The ruling will have a far-reaching effect on product liability and personal injury litigation and give victims greater access to justice.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an automobile accident, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884.