Opening Statements in Scheer v. Ford Seat Defect Trial

Posted by msch on Jul 9, 2010 7:09:00 PM

Scheer v Ford Attorneys Thomas Christensen and Jay J Schuttert of Snell and WilmerCVN webcast opening statements in Patricia Scheer v. Ford, a defective automobile seat case.

According to plaintiff attorney Thomas Christensen, of Christensen Law, Scheer's 1999 Mercury Mountaineer was rear-ended while Scheer was stopped at a red light. The force of the rear-end collision allegedly collapsed Scheer's seat, sending her backwards. Scheer was then suddenly thrust forward when Scheer's vehicle struck the GMC Yukon in front of her.

Christensen asserted that when Ford was designing the Mercury Mountaineer, it used two seat designs: one that would withstand a moderate-speed rear-end collision, and one that would not. Ford chose for the Mountaineer the seat that would collapse, said Christensen, which resulted in Scheer's severe injuries.

One of Scheer's injuries was a cut to her leg, which became infected with an antibiotic resistant bacteria. Scheer required maggot therapy -- the intentional introduction of maggots into the wound to clean out only the necrotic (dead) tissue.

Christensen said that Scheer's medical bills exceeded $400K, and that the evidence would require him to request $10M in general damages at the end of trial.

Representing Ford, Snell Wilmer's Jay Schuttert, said "There's not much that Ford agrees with the plaintiff about." According to Schuttert, the blame had to be assigned to the "careless driver," Asa Funderburke, who struck Scheer's vehicle.

According to Schuttert, Scheer's seat did not collapse or break, but properly yielded to protect the occupant in the event of a rear-impact. If the seat had not yielded, said Schuttert, Scheer would have suffered even worse injuries.

Ford was not responsible, Scheer concluded, because the Mercury Mountaineer's seat was safe, well-tested, exceeded every government standard (including FMVSS 207), and performed as intended in the crash.

Watch CVN's live webcast of Scheer v. Ford.

Topics: Scheer v. Ford, Products Liability, Vehicle Defect, Vehicle Collision