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USA: Ford to appeal $US225 million wrongful death jury award

By just-auto.com editorial team | 18 December 2002

Ford is to appeal a $US225 million wrongful death award handed down by a Texas jury last week over the deaths of two people in an accident involving one of its popular F-150 pickup trucks, according to Reuters.

"We will be appealing it," Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes told Reuters.
According to Reuters, the Plaintiffs in the case alleged that defective roof and door latches contributed to the deaths of Paul Alaniz, 35, and Laura Benavides, 20, when the F-150 extended-cab pickup they were riding in rolled over during an accident in southern Texas in July last year.

Vokes told Reuters no defect had been found in the truck, which is part of a vehicle line-up that leads the world in sales.

"Our condolences go out to the families involved but this accident was caused by a speeding driver losing control of his vehicle," Reuters quoted Vokes as saying.

"This accident is another tragic reminder that people should not drink and drive and that seatbelts can save lives only when they are worn," she added, Reuters said.

According to Reuters, Ford lawyers maintained during the trial that Alaniz was drunk and speeding when the accident happened and that neither he nor Benavides were wearing seatbelts.

Reuters noted that the jury verdict, handed down last week in San Diego, Texas, is among the largest single damage claims that Ford has ever been ordered to pay.