Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) will have to pay $1.7 billion in punitive damages after a Georgia jury ruled the automaker knowingly manufactured its pickup trucks with faulty roofs that ultimately killed an elderly couple in a rollover.
The verdict, one of the heftiest in the US this year, was delivered last week after a 14-day trial endorsed the plaintiff’s claim that the 2002 Ford F-250 pickup truck Melvin and Voncile Hill were driving had an unsafe roof that crushed the occupants when their tire ruptured and the vehicle rolled over. The couple’s family argued Ford was aware of the design flaw on its F-250 pickups, but didn’t warn consumers nor improve the defective design until the 2016 model year.
“There are many millions of F-150’s on the road with this roof,” said the family’s attorney, Jim Butler Jr., as cited by CNN. “Long before the Hills were killed, Ford was on notice from their own engineers, own crash tests and dozens of accidents that people were being killed, and it did nothing.” The Hill family was also awarded $24 million in compensatory damages, but 75% of the $1.7 billion in punitive damages will be awarded to the state of Georgia, with the remainder divided between the plaintiffs and their lawyers.
Ford, for its part, said it does not agree with the jurors’ decision, and will appeal their decision. “While our sympathies go out to the Hill family, we do not believe the verdict is supported by the evidence, and we plan to appeal,” the automaker said in a statement as cited by Fox News.
Information for this briefing was found via CNN and Fox News. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.