Dianne Reding sued Ford Motor Company on a products liability for the wrongful death of her 13-year-old son in the rollover accident of their Ford Explorer in April 2003. Reding claimed that the vehicle was defective and unreasonably dangerous in the way that it was designed and manufactured. She further claimed that the design of the vehicle made it unstable because
the wheelbase was too narrow. The accident happened when Reding swerved to avoid a deer on a road near Canyon Lake near San Antonio. Her son was not wearing a seat belt and he was ejected from the vehicle and died when it rolled over him.
Ford denied that the Ford Explorer was defective and further claimed that the cause of the accident was Reding’s failure to use due care in the operation of her vehicle.
Outcome: Jury verdict finding that plaintiff suffered $16.6 million in damages but that she was 65% at fault and Ford 35% at fault.