Snell & Wilmer attorney Vaughn Crawford represented Ford Motor Company in a case tried in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso. The case was filed by a husband and wife involved in a single-vehicle rollover near Sweetwater, Texas in 2009. The wife, who was the right front seat passenger and who was ejected during the rollover, claimed to have suffered a serious brain injury.
Plaintiffs claimed that the vehicle was defective because it steered more abruptly than expected by the driver as he attempted to control it following the sudden loss of tread on one of the rear tires (a “detread”). He made repeated steering maneuvers, crossed through a grass median and an adjoining service road to the interstate highway, and eventually rolled over after leaving the service road and entering the dirt shoulder. Ford denied that the 2002 Ford Explorer Sport was defective and defended on the basis that the vehicle’s steering response and capabilities after the detread were appropriate, reasonable and expected. Ford also presented evidence that the brain injury was minor and had fully resolved at the time of trial.
The Ford trial team also included Snell & Wilmer paralegal Tayce Galea, along with Alison Kennamer (Colvin, Chaney, Saenz & Rodriguez) and local counsel Cori Harbour-Valdez (The Harbour Law Firm). The jury trial lasted for 11 days and ended on April 30, 2013.