Ford Motor Co. must pay $30.7 million to the family of a child left brain damaged when the Ford van she was riding in rolled over after a tire blew out, a Florida jury ruled.
Jurors in state court in Miami, however, found that Mary Phyllis Jimenez, 12, was 50% responsible for her own injuries because she wasn't wearing a seat belt when the Ford Econoline van her family was driving to Disney World rolled over.
Lawyers said they expect Judge Thomas Wilson to reduce the damage award because of that finding. Ford executives said they expect the judge to cut the verdict to about $15 million.
The jury found that Ford employees installed defective tire valve stems on the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. tires on the van.
Ford has settled about 200 suits alleging that its Explorer sport-utility vehicle is a rollover threat in accidents, especially when equipped with tires made by Bridgestone Corp.'s Firestone unit.
Shares of Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford fell 94 cents to $15.49 on the NYSE.