Meals ex rel. Meals v. Ford Motor Co.Annotate this Case
A mother sued Ford Motor Company on behalf of her six-year-old son, whose spine was fractured in a car wreck, alleging that the defective design of the seatbelt in the vehicle caused her son's permanent paralysis and other injuries. The jury returned a $43.8 million verdict for compensatory damages. Ford's share of the verdict, based on its degree of fault, was $6,570,000. Ford filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the verdict was excessive. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals, however, determined that the verdict was excessive and remanded the case with a suggestion of remittitur from $43.8 million to $12.9 million. The suggested remittitur would reduce Ford's share of the verdict to $1,935,000. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the jury's verdict, holding (1) the court of appeals had the authority to suggest a remittitur even though Ford did not request it; but (2) the court of appeals erred in remitting the verdict to $12.9 million, as the jury's verdict was supported by material evidence and was within the range of reasonableness. Remanded.