In a closely watched civil trial in the Superior Court of California, a legal team from the Missouri-based law firm of Langdon & Emison recently obtained a $23.4 million verdict against Ford Motor Company on behalf of a single mother who suffered permanent injuries as a result of a 2007 accident.
In the case, Cynthia Castillo v. Ford Motor Company et al (Case No. CIVRS 706262), Ms. Castillo filed a lawsuit against Ford and the companies who manufactured and installed the tires on her 1997 Ford Explorer. Her lawsuit was based on a tragic car accident caused when the left rear tire on her vehicle “de-treaded” on a California freeway and the vehicle instantly became unstable and uncontrollable, forcing the Explorer to run off the freeway and roll down a steep embankment.
The accident knocked Ms. Castillo unconscious and she suffered brain damage. Just 38 years old at the time of the incident, she is now a quadriplegic, fully dependent on 24/7 care for the remainder of her life. Instead of being the caregiver for her young daughter, her child became one of her moms caregivers.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Castillo argued that the accident was caused by hidden handling defects in the Explorer. At trial, Ms. Castillo’s legal team — Robert L. Langdon, Adam W. Graves and Phyllis A. Norman of Langdon & Emison and Daniel T. DeFeo of the DeFeo Law Firm — presented evidence that high level management at Fords world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. were aware of similar wrecks caused by hidden handling defects. Specifically, they introduced evidence showing that Ford spent $3.5 million correcting the defect in Venezuela, but chose to ignore the fix recommended by its own engineers and not to spend the $500 million needed to fix the Explorers in North America.
After a six-week trial and more than three days of deliberations, the California jury in the case reached a unanimous verdict finding the Ford Explorer to be defective. The jury awarded Ms. Castillo $13.4 million for medical care and future life needs and another $10 million for her pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
“Cynthia Castillo was among Ford's targeted group of soccer moms for the 4 million Ford Explorer SUVs sold in North America from 1990 to 2001, which fit the active, athletic lifestyle she enjoyed with her then 7 year old daughter,” said Langdon.” That all came to an abrupt halt on the day of her accident, but we are pleased that justice was served with the jurys verdict and thankful that Cynthia will be able to receive the additional care she needs and deserves.”
Langdon & Emison is recognized throughout the country as a leader in the areas of product liability and personal injury law. From its offices just outside Kansas City, the attorneys at Langdon & Emison serve clients across the nation who have been injured or lost a loved one in an automobile accident that occurred due to a defective product or the negligence of another party.