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BloombergLaw: Will SCOTUS Decide Jurisdiction for the Victims of Car Defect Accidents? Wigington Interview

Jan 18, 2020

Ford Motor Company (“Ford”), having lost arguments before the state supreme courts of Minnesota and Montana, has petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to review its arguments on where Ford can be sued for injuries caused by its product defects. Specifically, Ford argues that accident victims seeking injury damages from Ford should not be able to bring their lawsuits in their home states when their claims are based upon alleged defects in their used Ford motor vehicles which were originally sold by Ford in other states.

In an interview with Bloomberg reporter Martina Barash, Jeff Wigington of Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair described the ramifications of these two cases upon people injured not only by Ford motor vehicles, but other makes and models of cars, trucks, and SUVs, as well as other types of products.

In the article entitled, “Where to Sue a Car Company for Defects? SCOTUS Might Weigh In,” written by Martina Barash and published by BloombergLawon January 9, 2020, Jeff Wigington explained:

  • For suits against Ford and some other automakers, “the biggest hurdle will be the restrictive product liability laws in Michigan,” where those companies are headquartered and where the suits might have to be filed….
  • The Michigan Legislature has enacted laws favorable to large corporations “because of the lobbying that the automobile manufacturers have done in their home state.”
  • The laws make it more likely that a case won’t get to a jury.
  • “Some remedies may not even exist in Michigan. They may not be able to pursue the case.”
  • When plaintiffs’ cases are dismissed, “they have to find new counsel willing to take their case within the statute of limitations,” and they incur filing expenses and travel expenses. The costs of litigating in another state will accumulate.