The South Carolina Supreme Court recently overturned an $18 million verdict against Ford Motor Company.
In 2006, a Greenville County jury awarded $18 million to the victims of a car accident which occurred on Interstate 385 in Lauren County in 2009. Sonya Watson, who was 17 at the time of the accident, was paralyzed in the crash. Her passenger, Patricia Carter, died from her injuries soon after the accident. The jury awarded Watson $15 million and Carter’s estate $3 million.
The lawsuit claimed that Watson’s Ford Explorer has cruise control problems causing it to “take-off” while she was driving.
The Supreme Court overturned the verdict based on an error of law by the trial judge. The Supreme Court found that the trial judge should not have allowed the testimony of one of Watson’s attorney’s expert witnesses. This witness testified to issues with cruise control, but had never worked on cruise controls in cars. The Supreme Court found that this testimony was prejudicial against Ford Motor Company and could have swayed the jury’s decision.
The Supreme Court granted Ford Motor Company a new trial.
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