Last month Judge Swigert, of Florida, overturned a jury verdict in Ford’s favor. The judge decided that that Ford had systematically concealed more than 30 years of data related to the problem of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and unintended acceleration (UA). The Judge’s 51-page decision lists Ford’s bad acts which include:
- lying to NHTSA,
- destroying evidence that EMI caused UA, and
- misleading its own experts.
Because of its fraud, Ford will have to face a new trial in which the jury decides only the amount of compensatory and punitive damages Ford should pay Mrs. Simpson, a Ford owner who was left permanently paralyzed by the UA of her Aerostar. The Safety Record Blog recounts how Judge Swigert detailed Ford’s concealment here.
Judge Swigert’s decision undermines the foundation of Ford’s UA defense and spotlights NHTSA’s inability to properly investigate consumer complaints. While the decision focuses on Ford’s malfeasance, the criticisms set forth in the opinion also undercut many theories that other car manufacturers, including Toyota, rely upon today.