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$10.4 Million Verdict Against the Ford Motor Company in Faulty Seatback Case

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Searcy Denney and Lowe Eklund Wakefield & Mulvihill Law Firms Secure Victory for Florida Couple

West Palm Beach, Fl. – (May 31, 2007)– South Florida law firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA announced today that a jury has awarded $10,373,552.00 to a Palm Beach woman injured in an accident caused by a defective seat and seatback system in a 2000 Ford Explorer.

Plaintiff Donna Grimes sustained a crippling spinal injury when her seatback malfunctioned after a rear end collision. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, Donna Grimes and her husband Richard Grimes, and against the Ford Motor Company, after a six-week trial held in the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County.

The injury occurred on October 30, 2001 in Deerfield Beach, Florida as Donna Grimes drove her 2000 Ford Explorer southbound on Dixie Highway. She was at a stop when a vehicle rear-ended her at approximately 58 miles per hour. Mrs. Grimes, who was wearing a seat belt, was thrown into the rear of her vehicle, causing her head to strike the rear seat.

According to expert testimony, the Ford Explorer’s seatback collapsed due to a malfunction of the seat’s recliner mechanism. As a result, Grimes became a quadriplegic, with permanent damage to the C-5-6 level of her spine.

“We trust our lives to automobile makers every time we set foot inside one of their vehicles,” said David White, attorney for Donna Grimes and partner in the Searcy Denney law firm. “It is hoped that, at those moments where we need our safety restraints the most, we can rely on them to function properly. But in this case, a jury unequivocally agreed that Ford allowed a vehicle with defects to enter the market.”

According to the jury’s findings, the Ford Motor Company was liable for selling a defective vehicle.

“The injuries sustained by our client were preventable.” said James Lowe, co-counsel and a partner in the law firm of Lowe Eklund Wakefield & Mulvihill. “It’s unfortunate that Ford put profits over the safety and welfare of its customers.”

About Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA:

A nationally recognized trial law firm, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. is committed to protecting and vindicating the rights of people injured through negligence, deceit and abuse of power. Over the past 45 years, the firm has represented clients in courtrooms throughout Florida and across the nation.

About Lowe Eklund Wakefield & Mulvihill:

Lowe Eklund Wakefield & Mulvihill is a recognized leader in the areas of products liability, personal injury and medical malpractice, having obtained tens of millions of dollars in settlements and trials throughout the country. The firm has successfully represented injured people in the areas of automobile product safety, employer intentional tort and birth injury cases, as well as the families of the victims of wrongful death.

For more information, contact Derede McAlpin at 202-973-1314 or

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"Every question that I had was answered in mere minutes and the follow through that the staff, secretaries and attorneys had was superior. I have dealt with many, many firms that have all disappointed me and Searcy Denney was by far the most thorough - I highly recommend them!"
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