The lawsuit failed against Ford Motor Co. over the death of a New York Mets minor league baseball player was settled after a jury ordered the company to pay $131 million to his estate. The verdict was handed down by a Jasper County, Miss. jury.
Attorney Tab Turner, who represented the family of Brian Cole, said that the settlement is confidential and was made before punitive damages were considered. In March 2001 in Florida, 27-year-old Cole was ejected from an Explorer as he was on his way home from spring training with the Mets.
Turner said that there was physical evidence that Cole had still been wearing the belt when he was thrown out of the car.
In addition, the jury awarded $1.5 million to Cole's cousin, Ryan, who was injured. According to Bloomberg data, this is the eighth-largest jury award in 2010.
It's also the ninth biggest US verdict against an automaker. Marcey Evans, a Ford spokeswoman, claimed that Brian Cole “was not wearing his safety belt.”
She added that Ryan, who had been properly belted, “walked away from the accident.” She asserted that Cole had been driving at more than 80mph before he drifted off the road and lost control of the Explorer. [via Autoblog]