State Court of Dekalb County,
Jessica Mundy and Kenneth Mundy v. Ford Motor Company and Legacy Ford Mercury, Inc.
This firm, in association with another law firm, represented Jessica Mundy, a twenty-three year old young lady, who was on her way home from work one evening in November 2005 when she stopped at the Post Office in McDonough, Georgia to drop off a Fed-Ex package. She pulled her 2004 Ford Explorer into the parking space and put it into what she thought was park. She left the car running, got out of the car and as she was walking in front of the car, she noticed out of the corner of the eye that the vehicle was moving backwards. She ran back in an attempt to get in her car and was knocked down and pinned by the front left tire which forced her left leg over her body resulting in a burst fracture at the L-1 level leaving her a paraplegic.
Plaintiff’s contended that Ford had had problems with its automatic transmissions slipping from park to reverse for over thirty years and had not taken any measures to warn the driving public that this phenomenon which was labeled “false park” could occur. Ford took a position that these problems had been fixed following a 1980 NHTSA investigation into these problems.
Ford defended this case by claiming that Jessica was responsible by failing to put the car in park. They also claimed that any transmission can be manipulated into “false park” and as a result they largely ignored the complaints they received from various sources over the years from customers claiming that their Ford vehicles were experiencing unintended movement after the vehicle was placed in what the driver thought was park.
Following a week and a half trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of forty-million dollars ($40,000,000.00) Thirty million dollars of the verdict was attributed to punitive damages. The balance was attributed to compensatory damages to Jessica and her husband, Ken.