Supreme Court upholds $82M judgment in Alpine rollover crash - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Supreme Court upholds $82M judgment in Alpine rollover crash

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CNS) - An $82.6 million dollar verdict awarded to a San Diego woman paralyzed in the 2002 rollover crash of her Ford Explorer was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court today.

In 2004, Benetta Buell-Wilson was awarded $356 million in damages, which was cut in half by the trial court and further reduced by an appeals court.

The original trial jury agreed with Buell-Wilson's lawyers, who had argued that Ford ignored the advice of engineers and designed the Explorer with safety flaws that made the vehicle prone to roll over.

Ford said the crash was initiated by the driver and any SUV would have rolled over under similar circumstances. Ford said the Explorer was a safe vehicle.

The mother of two, then 46, was injured Jan. 19, 2002, while driving her 1997 Explorer west on Interstate 8, near Tavern Road in Alpine.

She swerved to avoid an object in the road and the SUV tipped up on two wheels and rolled over. The roof caved in, breaking Buell-Wilson's back.

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