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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
May 1, 2000, Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California ; December 3, 2002, Filed
[*1001] KLEINFELD, Circuit Judge:
This decision addresses several issues, the most important of which relate to punitive damages. 2
This case went to jury trial, but on the critical factual points, there is not much dispute. Where there is, the facts are of course taken favorably to the verdict. 3
On October 9, 1994, Jimmie White parked his company's 1993 Ford F-350 pickup truck in his driveway. The driveway is sloped, not level, and the truck was parked on the slope pointing downhill. Mr. White testified that he put the truck into first gear, set the parking brake by stepping on the brake pedal, and went inside. He did not lock the truck.
The Whites' three-year-old son Walter was playing outside, with Mrs. White checking on him through the window from time to time. While she wasn't watching, Walter got into his father's pickup truck. The Whites' theory of the case was that Walter pulled or kicked it out of first gear into neutral. The gearshift [**3] lever is a long stalk sticking up from the floor. A piggy bank turned up under the seat after the accident, so Walter may have been clambering after his lost piggy bank. The parking brake didn't hold the truck after it was shifted from first to neutral, and it started rolling. Walter got out the passenger door, possibly falling out when the truck rolled over a bump. Tragically, the rear dual wheels of the truck rolled over the little boy's chest and killed him.
The Whites brought this products defect case against Ford and against Orscheln Company, which made the parking brake for Ford. The Whites alleged strict product liability (defective design), negligence, failure to warn, intentional misrepresentation, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Orscheln settled during the trial. The jury came back with a verdict against Ford for $ 2,305,435 in compensatory damages and $ 150,884,400 in punitive damages. The district court remitted the punitive damages to $ 69,163,037.10.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
312 F.3d 998 *; 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 24364 **; 2002 Daily Journal DAR 13602; 60 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 933; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P16,463
GINNY V. WHITE; JIMMIE D. WHITE, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, a Delaware corporation, Defendant-Appellant, and ORSCHELN COMPANY, a Missouri corporation, Defendant.
Subsequent History: Amended by, Rehearing denied by White v. Ford Motor Co., 335 F.3d 833, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 13541 (9th Cir. Nev., July 3, 2003)
Reprinted as amended at White v. Ford Motor Co., 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 28133 (9th Cir. Nev., Dec. 3, 2002)
On remand at, Motion denied by, Motion granted by White v. Ford Motor Co., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29352 (D. Nev., Dec. 30, 2003)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. D.C. No. CV-95-00279-DWH. David Warner Hagen, District Judge, Presiding.
Disposition: AFFIRMED as to liability determination and compensatory damages. REVERSED AND REMANDED as to punitive damages.
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