Jury awards local estate $2.75M

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, a Montgomery County jury awarded the estate of Covington County woman $2.75 million in a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company.

Catherine Parker was killed in a July 27, 2007 one-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 29 North in the Searight Community when her 1999 Ford Explorer rolled over during a crash.

Searight is in Crenshaw County near the Crenshaw and Covington County line.

The Montgomery firm of Beasley, Allen and Crow and the Andalusia firm of Woodard, Patel and Sledge represented the victim’s estate against Ford Motor Company.

Manish Patel of WP&S said the jury determined that the Explorer was defective by design because the roof structure is too weak in the event of a rollover crash.

“The evidence in the case revealed that the roof structure on this particular vehicle was only tested two times by Ford Motor Company, and in one of those occasions, it failed to even meet the minimum Federal Motor Safety Standard for roof strength,” Patel said.

The trial lasted three weeks, with numerous experts from throughout the country providing testimony. The jury deliberated for several hours before returning the verdict.