Ford Ordered to Pay $19M for Explorer Rollover Death
A jury has ordered Ford to pay a mother $19 million for an accident in which an Explorer SUV rolled over and killed her 17-year-old son.
It has been a long legal battle for Joan Hall-Edwards, who has had to endure multiple trials spanning more than ten years.
Hall-Edwards sued Ford after the 1997 accident on a Florida highway between Naples and Miama that took her son, Lance. The teenager was asleep in a 1996 Ford Explorer when the driver lost control and Lance was ejected and killed.
His mother’s lawsuit alleged that Ford knew about handling and stability problems but never told consumers about them.
In the first trial in 2005, Hall-Edwards’ lawyer Bruce Kaster, won a $61 million verdict. But the Florida Supreme Court threw out the jury’s award. Ford argued it was unfair that the jury was allowed to hear about other accidents involving the Explorer.
This time, Kaster believes, the jury’s $19 million award will withstand appeal.
According to court documents, Ford argued that its vehicle was not defective and that the accident was caused by the driver who, according to reports at the time of the first verdict, fell asleep at the wheel.
The Hall family was never interested in the money, Kaster said.
Hall-Edwards plans to use the money to create scholarships for underprivileged youth in her son’s name.
“She doesn’t want the money; she wants a legacy for him,” said Kaster.