Ford ordered to pay brother and sister $1.7 billion after their parents were killed in crash

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By Carina Murphy

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A Georgia jury has ordered Ford Motor Co. to pay $1.7 billion to the orphaned children of a couple killed in a pickup truck crash.

According to a report by CBS News, the company plans to appeal the verdict, which was returned by jurors in Gwinnett County late last week.

The jury's ruling marks the culmination of a years-long civil case, in which Kim and Adam Hill sued Ford over the 2014 death of their parents, Melvin and Voncile, who were killed in the rollover wreck of the 2002 Ford F-250.

Plaintiffs Kim and Adam claimed the Ford pickup truck had a dangerously defective roof that failed to protect their parents adequately.

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Credit: Butler Prather LLP

Their lawyer, James Butler Jr. said on Sunday (August 21) that the evidence presented by the case was shocking, and that the pickup truck roof was so flimsy it might as well have been a "convertible".

"I used to buy Ford trucks. I thought nobody would sell a truck with a roof this weak. The damn thing is useless in a wreck. You might as well drive a convertible," he said.

The plaintiff's legal team cited evidence from nearly 80 similar rollover wrecks in which truck roofs had been crushed and motorists had been injured or killed.

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Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy

Butler's co-counsel, Gerald Davidson, said in the statement that "more deaths and severe injuries are certain because millions of these trucks are on the road."

"An award of punitive damages to hopefully warn people riding around in the millions of those trucks Ford sold was the reason the Hill family insisted on a verdict," Butler added.

Ford's legal team defended the company and its engineers.

Defense lawyer William Withrow Jr. said in his closing arguments: "Ford and its engineers acted willfully and wantonly, with a conscious indifference for the safety of the people who ride in their cars when they made these decisions about roof strength."

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Credit: Jerry Bernard / Alamy

Meanwhile, in a statement following the jury's verdict, the Michigan-based automaker continued to deny culpability in the Hills' death.

"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 company said in a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday.

Featured Image Credit: Askar Karimullin / Alamy

Ford ordered to pay brother and sister $1.7 billion after their parents were killed in crash

vt-author-image

By Carina Murphy

Article saved!Article saved!

A Georgia jury has ordered Ford Motor Co. to pay $1.7 billion to the orphaned children of a couple killed in a pickup truck crash.

According to a report by CBS News, the company plans to appeal the verdict, which was returned by jurors in Gwinnett County late last week.

The jury's ruling marks the culmination of a years-long civil case, in which Kim and Adam Hill sued Ford over the 2014 death of their parents, Melvin and Voncile, who were killed in the rollover wreck of the 2002 Ford F-250.

Plaintiffs Kim and Adam claimed the Ford pickup truck had a dangerously defective roof that failed to protect their parents adequately.

size-large wp-image-1263166322
Credit: Butler Prather LLP

Their lawyer, James Butler Jr. said on Sunday (August 21) that the evidence presented by the case was shocking, and that the pickup truck roof was so flimsy it might as well have been a "convertible".

"I used to buy Ford trucks. I thought nobody would sell a truck with a roof this weak. The damn thing is useless in a wreck. You might as well drive a convertible," he said.

The plaintiff's legal team cited evidence from nearly 80 similar rollover wrecks in which truck roofs had been crushed and motorists had been injured or killed.

wp-image-1263166275 size-full
Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy

Butler's co-counsel, Gerald Davidson, said in the statement that "more deaths and severe injuries are certain because millions of these trucks are on the road."

"An award of punitive damages to hopefully warn people riding around in the millions of those trucks Ford sold was the reason the Hill family insisted on a verdict," Butler added.

Ford's legal team defended the company and its engineers.

Defense lawyer William Withrow Jr. said in his closing arguments: "Ford and its engineers acted willfully and wantonly, with a conscious indifference for the safety of the people who ride in their cars when they made these decisions about roof strength."

wp-image-1263166276 size-full
Credit: Jerry Bernard / Alamy

Meanwhile, in a statement following the jury's verdict, the Michigan-based automaker continued to deny culpability in the Hills' death.

"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 company said in a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday.

Featured Image Credit: Askar Karimullin / Alamy