A jury has ordered the Ford Motor Co. to pay more than $61 million (Ђ52.24 million) to the family of a 17-year-old boy killed in a roll-over accident when his friend feel asleep while driving an Explorer.
Ford was liable in the accident because it sold a vehicle with poor handling and stability, the jury said Tuesday. The company planned to appeal, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The family of Lance Crossman Hall claimed Ford knew the Explorer was prone to roll-overs and failed to warn consumers about the vehicle's defects.
Ford blamed defective Firestone tires for the Explorer's handling and stability problems, and the company knowingly continued to produce unsafe vehicles, Bruce Kaster, an attorney for the family, said Wednesday.
Hall was reclining in the front passenger seat and wearing his seat belt when the Explorer rolled over four times on State Road 93 in Collier County on April 20, 1997. He was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.
The driver of the 1996 Explorer, Melahn Parker, was charged with careless driving. Parker attempted to regain control of the vehicle, but a handling problem with the Explorer caused it to turn sideways, which triggered the roll-over, Kaster said.
The jury ordered Ford to pay the family $1.2 million (Ђ1.03 million) in damages, and $60 million (Ђ51.38 million) for the pain and suffering of Hall and his mother, Joan Hall-Edwards. Ford was not ordered to pay punitive damages, AP reports.