Ford wins favorable verdict in product liability trial

David Yates Nov. 23, 2010, 7:31am

Just in time for Thanksgiving, 12 jurors delivered a favorable verdict for Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday, Nov. 23, following nearly six weeks of testimony.

Plaintiff Kenneth Holmes filed a product liability suit against Ford in October 2004, alleging his 1995 Ranger was defective and dangerous.

Six years later, the case went to trial on Oct. 23 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court.

The Jefferson County jury was tasked to determine if Holmes' 1995 Ranger had a "design defect," which was a "producing cause" of his alleged injuries.

Court records show that on March 4, 2003, Holmes and former defendant Guillermo Cardona were involved in a motor vehicle collision. He alleged a design flaw in his Ranger caused him to suffer a head injury.

However, jurors placed no blame for Holmes' injuries on Ford, clearing the company of any negligence.

After finishing their deliberations, jurors gathered in front of the courtroom to express their relief and openly discuss their experiences and thoughts on the case.

Most of the jurors said they found Ford's experts and witnesses more credible.

During the trial, Holmes' treating physician, Dr. R. Lilly testified that the collision had caused a "significant impact" on his health, most likely impairing him the rest of his life.

However, during cross examination Dr. Lilly admitted Holmes did not seek treatment from him after the crash and no physician referred him to his Houston office.

In fact, Dr. Lilly testified that for the last 15 years, plaintiffs' attorney Paul Ferguson Jr. and the Provost Umphrey law firm have routinely directed clients into his office and then paid him to testify about their medical condition.

He said he was paid around $12,000 to testify during the Holmes vs. Ford trial.

After the trial, Judge Shuffield told the Southeast Texas Record and jurors that were "very patient" and was grateful for their month-long service to the judicial system.

Holmes was asking jurors to award him damages for his alleged mental anguish, medical expenses and lost wages.

His wife Helen was also seeking loss of consortium damages.

Ford is represented by Sugarland attorney Deborah Bullion of Gascoyne & Bullion.

Case No. D173-482

More News