Auto Connection (Mar. 14, scroll to “Ford Appeals Frontier Justice”) has some new material on the astounding $31 million verdict against Ford from Zavala County, Texas, last discussed in this space Mar. 7. A few snippets:
In the testimony that followed [a Feb. 22 mistrial motion by Ford], it was revealed that not only had [juror Diana] Palacios failed to acknowledge her romantic entanglement [with plaintiff’s attorney Jesse Gamez] during jury selection, but had previously been a client of Gamez in other litigation, had been an aunt by marriage of one of the plaintiffs and indeed had solicited the plaintiffs to sue Ford and Guerrero and hire Gamez as their lawyer….
Incredibly, Ford’s motions were denied, but Juror Palacios was removed.
The next day’s Express-News carried a story about the motions and denials.
But a mysterious man went around to all the distribution points in Crystal City, buying up all the papers before anyone could read them. The San Antonio newspaper management 130 miles away quickly got wind of this, replenished the newspapers and ran an editorial the following day denouncing the act as an attempt to keep Crystal Citians from learning of their local conflicts of interest. The miscreant was never identified.
The trial went on, plaintiffs maintaining that Ford was negligent, because if the Explorer had only been equipped with a type of laminated side glass used by less than one percent of the world’s vehicles, the ejections and injuries would not have occurred.