Riley v. Ford Motor Co.Annotate this Case
This products liability action arose following the death of Benjamin Riley, who was killed in a motor vehicle accident involving a negligently designed door-latch system in his 1998 Ford F-150 pickup truck. Petitioner Laura Riley, as the Personal Representative of the Estate, filed suit against Respondent Ford Motor Company and the at-fault driver, Andrew Marshall Carter, II. Carter settled with the Estate for $25,000, with $20,000 allocated to the survival claim and $5,000 allocated to the wrongful death claim. Petitioner and Ford proceeded to trial on the wrongful death claim. The jury returned a verdict for Petitioner in the amount of $300,000. The trial court granted a nisi additur of $600,000, bringing the judgment to $900,000. Ford appealed. The court of appeals upheld the finding of liability but reversed the trial court as to nisi additur, as well as the allocation and setoff of settlement proceeds. On appeal, Petitioner argued the court of appeals departed from well-established law concerning nisi additur and that the court of appeals erred in modifying the negotiated, court-approved settlement allocation and in finding Ford was entitled to offset the amount of $20,000. The Supreme Court agreed, reversed and reinstated the judgment of the trial court.