Jury Award $45 Million Dollars in Punitive “Punishment” Damages Against Large Automotive Manufacturer

On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, a Federal Jury in Colorado Springs returned a $45 million-dollar punitive damages verdict against Ford Motor Company for the company’s long-standing knowledge of a “false parking” defect on their vehicle.

The case arose from an incident that took place on December 27, 2016, when the Plaintiff Lorelle Thompson, who was being represented by a prominent law firm in Houston, Texas, got out of her 1998 Ford Expedition to check her mail, thinking she placed vehicle in park. According to Ms. Thompson and her legal team, and subsequently found by the Colorado Springs Jury, the vehicle’s shifting system contained a defect that caused the vehicle to go into reverse and roll over the left portion of Thompson’s left leg. As a result, Ms. Thompson’s leg was broken in two places, and she suffered major muscle and nerve damage.

According to Ms. Thompson’s law team, the evidence and expert testimony revealed that Ms. Thompson’s injuries were the result of a “false parking” defect on her vehicle that was known by Ford Motor Company dating back as far as 1980. Unfortunately, the defect was never remedied by Ford.

Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the injured victim for the losses he or she suffered, punitive damages (also known as exemplary or punishment damages) can be awarded as a way to punish the defendant/wrongdoer for their wrongful behavior. For punitive damages to be awarded, the injured party must usually present sufficient evidence to the jury that the wrongdoer’s actions involved an extreme degree of risk, yet they moved forward with those risks with a conscious disregard/indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others. The purpose of punitive damages is to discourage future bad behavior by making it financially harmful to the defendant/wrongdoer.

If you or someone you love has been injured by defective product or by the wrongful conduct of a third party, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner to begin investigating your claim today. The law firm of Abraham Watkins is the longest standing personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys have successfully represented individuals and families of those who have been wrongfully injured or killed by third parties whose actions exhibited an extreme degree of risk, and a conscious indifference to the rights, safety and welfare of others. Call us today at 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584 for a free consultation.