Judge Removes Herself from Ford Rollover Case


The re-trial of a wrongful death suit against Ford Motor Company has been delayed for more than five months after the judge who threw out the original $15 million verdict removed herself from the case. U.S. Chief District Judge Claire Eagen granted the request of Kevin and Veronica Moody that she step aside from the judicial matter.

The Moody’s filed the lawsuit in November 2003 a little less than a year after their 18-month-old son, Tyler, died from injuries he sustained in a rollover crash. A Tulsa, Oklahoma federal jury awarded a $15 million verdict in favor of the Moody’s; however, Judge Eagan voided the verdict a few months later when she found that Ford showed in its post-trial motions that “it was prejudiced by plaintiffs counsel’s conduct.” The lead attorney for the plaintiffs asked Judge Eagan to step aside from the case in a June 27 filing.

Eagan granted the request and stated that her removal from the Ford rollover case is “necessary to preserve the appearance of fairness for the parties and the general public.”

The Ford Motor Company has been the defendant in many SUV rollover lawsuits; in June 2004 a San Diego County jury awarded $369 million to a woman who was left paralyzed when her Ford Explorer rolled over.