In this product liability lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a judgment in favor of Horvitz & Levy LLP’s client, the Ford Motor Company. Plaintiffs’ decedent was killed when he drove his 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac off the highway and was partially ejected out of the driver’s side window, which had been rolled down, as the vehicle rolled over multiple times. The decedent’s survivors brought a products liability action against Ford, alleging the roof crushed too easily and the vehicle should have been equipped with a side curtain airbag to prevent ejection in a rollover. The trial court rejected plaintiffs’ request to send the case to the jury under the consumer expectations theory of defect, limiting plaintiffs to the risk-benefit test. The jury found for Ford. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing they should have been allowed to try their roof crush theory of defect under the consumer expectations test. Horvitz & Levy represented Ford on appeal.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment for Ford, agreeing with our argument that the consumer expectations test did not apply because consumers do not have “expectations” regarding the extent to which a roof will crush in a multiple rollover accident.03/20/2017