Calif. justices to review $82 million verdict against Ford

Legal News Line Jul. 16, 2008, 1:00am

SAN FRANCISCO(Legal Newsline)-The California Supreme Court has agreed to review an $82.6 million verdict awarded after a 2002 rollover accident left a woman paralyzed.

The decision continues the legal odyssey of this case that has bounced between the California courts for more than five years.

The high court last week granted Ford Motor Company's petition for review of the state appeals panel's refusal to reduce the $55 million punitive damages part of the verdict, or to grant a new trial.

The San Diego appeals court had been ordered by the United States Supreme Court to review the punitive damages in light of a smoker's lawsuit against cigarette maker Philip Morris that said punitive damages couldn't be based on harm to people not involved in the court case.

Despite the order from the court, the appeal court reaffirmed its punitive award, saying there was no evidence the Ford jury based its award on harm to outside people.

Ford's legal reply to the San Diego appeals court decision claims a "series of fundamental misstates" that need to be reconsidered.

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