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Thread: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...ck=1&cset=true

    A Florida jury said Friday that Ford Motor Co. should pay $16.95 million to a 35-year-old woman who was paralyzed when she slid under her seat belt during a collision, her attorney said.

    The woman, Tami Martin, was reclining in the front passenger seat of a 1998 Windstar van when it hit another vehicle, injuring her spinal cord, said Robert Langdon, Martin's attorney.

    Martin said Ford failed to warn of the dangers of using reclining seats while a vehicle was in motion.

    A jury in Jacksonville, Fla., found that Ford failed to properly warn Martin and was responsible for her injuries. Ford will appeal, spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said.

    "This was a tragic accident caused when the driver fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a stationary ambulance," Vokes said. "The air bag deployed as it should have, but the passenger was reclined in her seat with her feet resting on the dashboard."

    Martin was injured in 1999 while she was a passenger in the Windstar driven by her mother. Martin wouldn't have been hurt in the low-speed collision if she hadn't been reclining, Langdon said.
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Another delightful attempt to discredit the entire legal profession. Bravo.

    A few comments:

    1. No one is ever "guilty" in a civil case. Guilt is a concept germane only to criminal law. Ford was found liable, which means that the jury found that Ford's failure to warn more than likely caused the passenger's injuries.

    2. This is a 5-6 paragraph article. The jury in this case likely heard hours of testimony from dozens of witnesses. I tend to trust the jury over the writers' pithy attempt to marshal public indignation.

    3. The only cases that are ever reported in the media are those that are newsworthy--either given bizarre facts, well-known parties, or a surprising result. Therefore, you hear nothing about the 98%+ of cases which settle or are resolved without one of these oddities. In addition, reporters in the media generally have no clue about the ins and outs of legal procedure. Therefore, media accounts of legal proceedings are often a) skewed toward outlying cases that will likely be overturned on appeal; b) display a profound misunderstanding of the actual disposition of the case and rules of evidence; and c) are written from a sensationalistic perspective.

    4. Products liability damages are often assessed with the goal of forcing the liable defendant to change its policies in order to benefit society as a whole.

    5. If the judge (a neutral arbiter theoretically untouched by the 'passions' of a jury) decides the award is excessive, he or she has the power of remittitur, that is, the power to lower the jury award to a number that he or she feels is appropriate.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    She had her feet on the dashboard. I would think that would have more to do with her injury that just the fact that her seat was reclined.
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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    I dont care what the idiosyncracies were in this court case... You shouldnt need to be told that you shouldnt ride with your feet up and reclined.

    Common sense seems to never be used in court cases like they were decades ago.

    Do we really need to be warned not to ride upside down in a car? I dont see it anywhere in the manual of a car yet I can sue Ford for not warning me not to?

    And 16.9 million? Please...

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    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    There was also the one a few years ago where someone tried to stand on the paint can shelf on a step ladder. He fell off and broke his leg and then sued the people who made the ladder. Now they all have a warning on there that says something to the effect of, "This is not a step." Whatever happened to personal responsibility.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    I've always wondered about the safety of people who drive with the (driver's) seat half-reclined. I guess they must be entitled to a big payday if they get injured.

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    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Yup, everyone knows that reclining seats are only for making out. Especially if you pick up your date in a minivan.

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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Quote Originally Posted by smith288

    Common sense seems to never be used in court cases like they were decades ago.
    I'd like to see some evidence of this, please.

    I'm not going to defend the practice of sitting reclined in a car seat (I'm sure I've done it before) nor the decision of this jury. What I am saying is that articles like this are calculated to get the exact response you gave, e.g., "These lawsuits are out of control. Why, in my day, ...." Using them as a condemnation of American law is ridiculous.

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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith421
    I'd like to see some evidence of this, please.

    I'm not going to defend the practice of sitting reclined in a car seat (I'm sure I've done it before) nor the decision of this jury. What I am saying is that articles like this are calculated to get the exact response you gave, e.g., "These lawsuits are out of control. Why, in my day, ...." Using them as a condemnation of American law is ridiculous.
    Yup, I have done it in the passenger seat without thinking of the consequences. I also as child with 6 other siblings rode in the back of station wagons where most of the seatbelts did not work and someimes we had the seats down and all us sleeping on the way as my Dad drove 80 plus miles an hour. I'm lucky to be alive.

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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith421
    I'd like to see some evidence of this, please.

    I'm not going to defend the practice of sitting reclined in a car seat (I'm sure I've done it before) nor the decision of this jury. What I am saying is that articles like this are calculated to get the exact response you gave, e.g., "These lawsuits are out of control. Why, in my day, ...." Using them as a condemnation of American law is ridiculous.
    Yea...i was being totally serious in painting the whole industry of litigation (yes, its an industry) with one HUGE brush... No hyperbole here..no sireeee.

    Im taking it you are a lawyer... I thought you could at least pull the smallest sliver of that hyperbole, but whatever.
    Last edited by smith288; 10-26-2005 at 01:07 PM.

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    I suppose there are some people that live in the moronosphere that need to be told such things as "do not recline your seat and put your feet on the dashboard while driving". Perhaps they need to be told not close their eyes or sleep while driving too.

    If these warnings need to be put on a car so people don't do them, that's OK. I just wish there wasn't a $16.9M cost that gets spread out to us people with a brain to do so.

    Can't the judge issue a decision of "we probably ought to put a sticker on the car for morons like this" and then tell them to go away and let's skip the $16.9M part?

    I understand civil cases and agree with the reason for them, but you have to admit, this is a little silly.

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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker
    Can't the judge issue a decision of "we probably ought to put a sticker on the car for morons like this" and then tell them to go away and let's skip the $16.9M part?
    If the judge decided there was as little merit in the case as in the point you raised, yes, he could very well set aside the jury verdict and award nothing to the plaintiff. If the judge decides the amount awarded is excessive, then the judge can lower it to something more reasonable--which happens quite frequently.

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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith421
    If the judge decided there was as little merit in the case as in the point you raised, yes, he could very well set aside the jury verdict and award nothing to the plaintiff. If the judge decides the amount awarded is excessive, then the judge can lower it to something more reasonable--which happens quite frequently.
    $16.9M?

    I guess I know the price of having feeling for my lower extremeties for not reclining with my feet on the dash while driving and then crashing...

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    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Quote Originally Posted by smith288
    $16.9M?

    I guess I know the price of having feeling for my lower extremeties for not reclining with my feet on the dash while driving and then crashing...
    The woman, Tami Martin, was reclining in the front passenger seat of a 1998 Windstar van when it hit another vehicle, injuring her spinal cord, said Robert Langdon, Martin's attorney
    I don't think she was driving from the passenger seat.

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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Guilty Of Failure To Warn Not To Ride While Reclined

    Shwew...that was half my problem with the story... Ill back off...but only slightly.

    I have known since childhood that leaning back is a No-No when the car is moving just based on my naive understanding of physics at the time.


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