Stokes v. Ford Motor Co.Annotate this Case
Peter Carter was driving a Ford Explorer rented from Overland West when Todd Durham's vehicle collided with Carter's vehicle. The impact caused the Explorer to roll five times, partially ejecting Carter and killing him. Carter's estate filed a wrongful death and survival claim against Ford, Overland, and Durham (collectively, Defendants) under strict products liability and negligence theories. After a jury trial, the district court concluded that Durham was liable in negligence and that Ford and Overland were not liable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by (1) denying the estate's motion for default judgment on liability as a sanction against Ford for withholding evidence of other incidents; (2) excluding the estate's proffered evidence of other incidents; (3) excluding evidence related to Ford's actions in making a Safe Canopy System a standard feature in the United States in 2007 and some other countries in 2002, and by permitting Ford to present a "consumer-choice" defense; and (4) excluding an indemnity agreement between Ford and Overland and limiting questioning about the agreement and the parties' prior adversarial position.