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Ford Agrees to Settle Unsafe Car Wrongful Death Case
Case: Noberto DaSilva, Individually and as Representative of the Estate of Esperenza DaSilva, Julie Abreo DaSilva-Saleem and Robert Abreo DaSilva v. Ford Motor Company and McRee Ford, No. 05-CV-1612
Court: 212th Judicial District, Gavleston County District Court, The Honorable Susan Criss presiding.
Plaintiff Attorneys: Chad Points and Tony Denena, Denena & Points, PC, Houston, Texas
Defense Attorneys: Ronald Wamsted, THompson, Coe, Cousins, & Irons, LLP, Austin, Texas; Evan Kramer, Will Moye, Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP, Houston, Texas
Facts & Allegations:
Unsafe cars kill and maim people every single day when preventable accidents happen. Vehicle rollover is an especially deadly type of accident. When a Pearland, Brazoria County family lost a wonderful wife and mother they entrusted Denena & Points, PC to obtain justice. We filed a lawsuit against Ford and the dealer that sold the Explorer to the family for wrongful death and personal injuries.
On the morning of December 28, 2003, Mrs. DaSilva was driving the family Ford Explorer. The family was returning home from an annual family Christmas trip to California. The vehicle left the roadway and Mrs. DaSilva was unable to bring the vehicle under control. The SUV rolled over. Mr. DaSilva was in the front seat and also suffered serious injuries.
As we have done hundreds of times before, Denena & Points, PC sued the auto manufacturer and alleged that the Ford Explorer was unstable and uncrashworthy. The defective nature of the suspension, steering and design characteristics rendered the vehicle uncontrollable in certain driving situations. We argued that an electronic stability control system (ESC) was both economically and technologically feasible at the time the Explorer was manufactured that would have prevented the rollover by allowing the driver to maintain control.
Denena & Points, PC also claimed the Ford Explorer was not crashworthy as the vehicle structure and seatbelt did not reduce or prevent their injuries. Ford, through its usual corporate lawyers and former employees turned hired guns denied everything and claimed the vehicle does not rollover and fully protects the public driving its’ cars.
In order to combat Ford’s claims and carry their burden under the law, Denena & Points, P.C. brought together top experts, including a mechanical engineer accident reconstructionist, an engineer and vehicle design specialist that had worked in the automotive industry for decades, and a physician with an expertise in forensic analysis and biomechanics. The money, experience and ability to bring together experts of this type is paramount to success against the largest corporations in the county.
The wrongful death claims of the surviving family members, the claims of the estate and the personal injury claims were all settled at mediation for a confidential amount. The family was represented by the founding partners of Denena & Points, P.C., Chad Points and Tony Denena. The case was referred by another attorney to the Firm. Attorneys’ fee in the case was forty percent. The firm extended in excess of $80,000.00 in trial preparation expenses.
Plaintiff Experts: Joeseph Burton, MD, occupant kinematics, biomechanics, injury causation, Alpharetta, GA; Mickey Gilbert, accident reconstruction, ESC design and testing, Golden, CO., John Stilson, Ph.D., vehicle design issues, Cary, IL.
Defense Experts: Michael Carhart, Ph.D., biomechanics, Tempe, AZ.; Eddie Cooper, occupant restraint systems, Phoenix, AZ.; Jeffrey Croteau, car design, Maynard, MA.; Kevan Granat, accident reconstruction, Magnolia, TX.