Punitives Low in Ford Rollover Case

A jury awarded only $42,000 in punitive damages yesterday in an SUV rollover case after finding Ford Motor Co. liable for millions of dollars in compensatory damages.

Plaintiff Rebekah Zakrocki, who was paralyzed in the accident, was awarded about $7 million in compensatory damages, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. Her suit had alleged her 1997 Ford Explorer had a defective design that made its accelerator stick and increased susceptibility to rollovers.

The Middlesex County judge had allowed Ford’s lawyer to present evidence of the automaker’s financial problems and recent layoffs.

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