Florida Personal Injury Litigation: Florida Court Accuses Ford of Concealing Causes of Unintended Acceleration

by Carmen Dellutri on August 11, 2011

sarasota personal injury attorneyA Florida judge has accused Ford Motor Co. of misleading the court and federal safety investigators by concealing documents in a 2010 Florida personal injury case, reports the New York Times. According to the judge, the documents, including records of Ford’s own engineers, showed that unintended acceleration in certain vehicles could have been caused by electromagnetic interference with those vehicles’ cruise control systems.

According to Judge William T. Swigert of the Circuit Court of the Fifth Judicial Circuit for Sumter County, there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Ford engaged in “misconduct” in an attempt to keep information from the jury and influence the outcome of last year’s trial, which was decided in Ford’s favor.

Specifically, Judge Swigert concluded that Ford “withheld the results of internal reports, studies and investigations” relating to unintended acceleration from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As detailed by the NYT, automakers are required by federal law to keep safety-related documents on file for five years, yet Ford allegedly destroyed reports of sudden-acceleration investigations after one year.

“Had Ford disclosed them, the government would have discovered years ago that electronic failures of the cruise control system is a cause of sudden acceleration,” Judge Swigert wrote.

In response to Ford’s actions, Judge Swigert threw out the jury verdict in favor of Ford and decided the case in favor of the plaintiffs. He also ordered a new trial to consider the amount of compensatory damages and “whether punitive damages are appropriate.”

At trail, Ford had blamed the driver of the vehicle, Ralph Stimpson, for the crash, arguing that he must have accidentally hit the gas pedal. Sadly, the accident left his wife, Peggy Stimpson, 61, a quadriplegic.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced injury attorneys for a free consultation.


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