Snell & Wilmer attorneys Daniel S. Rodman and Jay J. Schuttert represented Ford Motor Company in a case tried in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in Las Vegas. The case was filed against Ford in Nevada federal court by the family of a man involved in a head-on collision in 2007. The family claimed that the man died of a head injury due to a design defect in the 2007 Ford Focus’s airbag system.
The plaintiffs claimed that the driver airbag in the 2007 Ford Focus was defectively designed because the airbag did not deploy when the driver lost control of the Focus and struck a tree. The Clark County Coroner determined that the driver died due to a head injury. The plaintiffs claimed that the failure of the airbag to deploy in the crash allowed the man to strike his head on the Focus’s steering wheel, causing his death.
Ford denied that the 2007 Ford Focus was defective and defended that the driver airbag was not intended to deploy in low speed crashes like the one involving this man. Ford also presented evidence that the man did not die of a head injury. Instead, he suffered a medical event prior to losing control of the Focus and had slumped to the right and out of his seatbelt by the time the car hit the tree.
The jury trial lasted for eight days and ended on November 7, 2012 after 45 minutes of jury deliberation.