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$131 Million Wrongful Death Verdict Against Ford Motor Co.

Florida wrongful death lawyers noted a recent verdict against Ford Motor Company for a Ford Explorer rollover accident that resulted in the wrongful death of a minor league baseball player. The $131 million verdict is the eighth-largest jury award in 2010, and is the ninth largest U.S. verdict against an auto company.

The jury in the case had not yet considered punitive damages, and Ford decided to settle the case before the jury could consider punitives.

The case involved the death of a former New York Mets minor league baseball player named Brian Cole.

Cole, 27 at the time of the fatal accident, was ejected from a Ford Explorer in a March 2001 accident in Florida. He was on his way home from spring training with the Mets. His family claimed that…

the Explorer’s seat belt was defective and failed to keep him in the vehicle during the rollover. They said the belt was still buckled after the accident, but that Cole was thrown from the car.

Ford claimed that Cole was not wearing his seat belt during the rollover accident.

Cole’s cousin, Ryan, was injured in the accident, and was awarded $1.5 million by the jury.

At the time of Cole’s death, he was an outfielder in the AA minor leagues, two steps from the majors.

Source: Bloomberg “Ford Settles With Minor Leaguer’s Family After Losing Verdict” Sept. 3, 2010

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