learpilot
Posts: 783
Joined: Thu May 10, 2001 11:07 am

Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:08 am

Woman swerves, rolls Explorer, sues and cashes in. Cha Ching!!!!

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040604/ap_on_bi_ge/ford_rollover

Thanks Greg Big grin and the rest of the trial attorneys and idiot juries. You guys amazed us once again.



Heed our warnings or your future will be underpant free!
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:21 am

You're welcome, I guess. I'm not sure if that was an insult or not.  Smile

What dollar value, specifically, would you put on your being crippled for life?
What amount, specifically, would you want Ford to pay as a penalty for their negligence? Just curious.

It will likely be reduced. See further down the article if you haven't read it in it's entirety.

Brgds.
 
DLKAPA
Posts: 7962
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:37 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:39 am

The 49-year-old San Diego mother of two offered to knock $100 million off the damage award if Ford recalled millions of Explorers and corrected the design flaws that she says left her wheelchair-bound.

Design flaws? There were no design flaws. The SUV is inherently designed very top-heavy. It can roll over easily, this is the risk you are willing to take. If I were that woman, I'd go back to high school Physics class to learn all about centrifugal force. If I were the judge, I'd have thrown out the case.

DLKAPA
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
JeffM
Posts: 7569
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 3:32 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:06 am

"What amount, specifically, would you want Ford to pay as a penalty for their negligence? "

Problem is, Ford does not pay the damages the judge awarded...their insurance carrier does.... and then you know what happens and who actually pays the bill? We do.
 
LHMark
Posts: 7048
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 2:18 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:14 am

"I think their message to Ford is that it's not OK what they've done and continue to do by not recalling the Ford Explorers," he said.

I guess Ford should have recalled all the explorers, then widened the wheelbase and lowered the center of gravity. How long will this repair take, Mr. Service Writer?

You want to buy what's essentially a truck, and drive it like a car, you take your chance. You want to buy a mini or a crotch-rocket, you take your chance. You drive, you take your chance. The road's not a safe place.
"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:15 am

That's not true.

Ford is penalized by higher insurance costs. And depending on their coverage and stop loss--large settlements can be very damaging.

Please don't paint the public at large as victims of a single lawsuit---they are however, the victim of Fords negligence in desiging an (as one personal already said) inherently unstable vehicle.

To say that a woman should have known her vehicle was unsafe (unstable)--and shouldn't have purchased it---is ridiculous.

To say that a case in which the vehicle overturns four times under normal evassive conditions (avoiding an object)--and they driver is left paralyzed for life--should be thrown out of court is blatant stupidity.
 
JeffM
Posts: 7569
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 3:32 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:17 am

And what will Ford do when they are hit with higher insurance costs? Suck it up themself? I doubt it.

 
QANTASforever
Posts: 5794
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:03 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:45 am

If there is a proved design-flaw in the car then the court should have recommended to Ford that they recall the model to save them from further legal action on behalf of injured (or potentially injured) Explorer drivers.

The fact that this payout ever occured says to me that:

1) as a result of the courts actions there is not a design flaw with the car. In fact, as common sense would dictate - swerving at high speeds can potentially result in a car flipping over.

2) if there is a design flaw in the car - then this law suit simply served to compensate one victim of the said flaw; thus by ford and the court are ignoring their responsibilities to drivers by not highlighting the problem - and ford leaves themselves open to further civil or criminal action. And I doubt this is something ford is willing to do.

Something isn't quite right in this case.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
LHMark
Posts: 7048
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 2:18 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:57 am

Well, on one hand, Ford and other auto manufacturers aggressively marketed SUV's on their safety.

On the other hand, major news investigations, Consumer Reports, and hundreds of others released alert after alert that they can roll over.

The point is, why is this accident any more the fault of the manufacturer than thousands of other unfortunate crashes?

I'm not up to snuff on this next point, but I wonder how much in damages were paid out over the Corvair, Pinto, and Renault Fuego (for its sheer offensiveness to the senses).
"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
 
B2707SST
Posts: 1258
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 8:16 am

To say that a woman should have known her vehicle was unsafe (unstable)--and shouldn't have purchased it---is ridiculous.

My parents own a 1998 Explorer. There are warning labels all over the owner's manual and the vehicle interior about the risk of rollovers during extreme maneuvers, and the manual explicitly cautions drivers that the Explorer does not handle like a normal passenger car. If you drive cautiously and reasonably, you'll be fine. We've swerved sharply to avoid objects and the vehicle never became unstable.

The woman was involved in a tragic accident, but there is no design flaw in the Explorer - it simply cannot be driven like a Ferrari. Under the "unreasonably dangerous defect" standard that governs strict liability law (at least in Washington), Ford should not be liable.

--B2707SST
Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.
 
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Aaron747
Posts: 8536
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:07 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 8:24 am

Yet another example of plaintiffs' attorneys exploiting a system that more often than not operates in their favor.

The worst thing about this is that when there *is* outright negligence and a chance to set real precedent, skepticism is already drawn vis a vis the bad reputation our long track record of litigious behavior has already long since established.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 8:49 am

The attorneys did not award themselves the damages--the jury did.

Clearly, there is something inherently wrong with any vehicle that is designed in such a way as to come with a warning sticker specifically about it's instability. That in itself does not dismiss liability--by any means.

Very likely that was one of the points made at the trial.

As I mentioned before, the punitive award will be lowered by the court.

And please, no more stories about fantastic settlements on relatively minor incidents...they have already been proven to be urban legends.
 
JeffM
Posts: 7569
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 3:32 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 9:39 am

So, using your logic, gun makers are liable for all the damage they do?

Yea, right. Use it the way it was designed to be used, you'll have no problems.
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 10:27 am

That is one of the oldest and most juvenile arguments out there--surely you know the difference between murder and product liability (of course, it would be quite different if you fired the gun and lost your hand in the process, right?)

Although I do not agree with your opinion--I certainly respect it.

The justice system has spoken on this case. Ultimateley, we'll have to see whether they have other words.

I'll agree that is seems excessive. But I'll stand by the decision---if not the amount of the award.

Have a good weekend!



 
QANTASforever
Posts: 5794
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:03 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 10:32 am

JeffM - that depends on what kind of a gun it is. Guns constructed with the specific purpose of recreational shooting (rifle with various safety mechanisms and aim parefenalia) are not designed to kill people.

Certain kinds of guns that are not for recreational shooting or for hunting are theoretically designed to shoot people (this is very broad though - it includes for use of self defence, murder or infliction of serious bodily harm to another). However cars are not designed to be used as lethal weapons. Indeed by their very nature as machines they do have the potential to kill a person intentionally or unintentionally.

If a gun maker recklessly created a gun that was for the specific purpose of inflicting as much harm to a shooting victim then I would suggest that the gun maker would be partially liable. Just as those people who have build bombs for use in terrorist attacks have been indicted.

It all comes down to the design. I seriously doubt that Ford built the Explorer model with the intention of it flipping over and killing people - but it must accept responsibility if this model is prone to that kind of an accident.

I really think you are talking about chalk and cheese here.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
Goose
Posts: 1771
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 3:40 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 11:27 am

Certain kinds of guns that are not for recreational shooting or for hunting are theoretically designed to shoot people (this is very broad though - it includes for use of self defence, murder or infliction of serious bodily harm to another).

I assume you're talking about military-grade weapons? I own a few of those.

But I didn't buy them so I could pick off my neighbours at 200 yards. I use them exclusively for target shooting.

The intended use of any weapon is the decision of the user, not the manufacturer. Just because a rifle looks like one that soldiers use, doesn't mean that it will be used for that purpose.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
QANTASforever
Posts: 5794
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:03 am

RE: Tort Reform, Anyone?

Sat Jun 05, 2004 11:36 am

But guns that are not exclusively designed and built for recreational shooting are built with the intention of shooting something other than a target. I'm not saying everyone who owns a military style rifle is about to go postal - I'm saying that if an object is created with the intention of causing harm, and harm is caused - the manufacturer can be held liable. If an object is made and the user causes harm with that object against the intentions of the designers of the object - the manufacturers will probably avoid legal action taken against them.

If a military style rifle that have been legally sold and registered falls into the wrong hands and a person harms another person with that weapon - the manufacter may avoid prosecution. Just as if someone steals a Ford Explorer, drives it at high speed and intentionally flips it and kills people - Ford may avoid prosecution.

What I'm trying to suggest here is - manufacturers intent comes into play in cases such as these. If the manufacturer knowingly designed a product that was dangerous without safety and security warnings and provisions then that manufacturer leaves themselves open for prosecution.

You see what I'm getting at?

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.

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