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August 26, 1995| Times Staff and Wire Reports

Judge Reduces Damages in Bronco Case: State District Judge Shearn Smith in Houston, acting under Texas tort reform laws, reduced actual damages against Ford Motor Co. from $2.5 million to $1.8 million and punitive damages from $22.5 million to $4 million in a case filed after a fatal 1992 rollover crash. Jennifer Cammack, 21, and six others were riding in a Bronco II that blew a tire and rolled over. Cammack was killed. Jurors assessed the original damage awards in June after determining that the Bronco II model is unreasonably dangerous because it overturns too easily and that Ford was negligent in the vehicle's design. Ford has spent $113.4 million to settle 334 lawsuits involving rollovers; this is the first time Ford was found to have been negligent. Because the jury decided that Ford did not intentionally harm its customers, the damage awards were cut to no more than four times the actual damages. Ford spokesman Jon Harmon said the company plans to appeal the punitive award. Ford contends that a blown tire caused the crash, that too many people were riding in the vehicle and that Cammack was not wearing a seat belt.

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