The Atlanta Constitution Journal reported on December 13, 2007, that a Cobb County, Georgia jury handed down a $3,000,000 compensatory damage verdict against Ford Motor Company because of defective seats in a 1994 Ford Tempo that resulted in the death of a 76 year-old lady. Mary Reese’s Ford Tempo was rear-ended by a gravel truck, driving her car down a steep embankment. She was hospitalized for 23 days with head and spinal cord injuries before she succumbed to her injuries and died.
The jury did not award punitive damages to the plaintiffs. The Ford Tempo was manufactured from 1984 to 1994. There have reportedly been more than 70 lawsuits against Ford because of the Tempo’s front seat backs, which may break away and fall backward in a rear-end crash. Ford claimed the seats were designed to protect the front-seat passengers by absorbing the impact of rear-end crashes, and the seats keep occupants from being driven into an overly rigid seat back in frontal impact collisions. Ford intends to appeal the verdict.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Defective and Dangerous Products.