Snatching a victory from Ford Motor Company, Hegge & Confusione persuaded
a New Jersey appeals court to reverse a no cause of action verdict that
Ford had obtained after a 14-day trial in New Jersey state court.
Plaintiffs had sued Ford and claimed that a design defect caused their 2000 Explorer SUV to roll over and crash during an emergency avoidance maneuver, seriously injuring plaintiff. At trial, Ford argued that there was no design defect with the SUV. Rather, the plaintiff had "overcorrected" his steering during the avoidance maneuver and this overcorrection caused the roll over. The jury returned a verdict for Ford.
Plaintiffs appealed, however, and retained Hegge & Confusione, who argued that even if the trial judge properly admitted Ford's "overcorrected steering" evidence, the judge should have told the jury that the evidence was irrelevant to the threshold issue in the case: was the vehicle's design defective when Ford placed it on the market? A three-judge appeals court agreed with Hegge & Confusione, reversed the verdict for Ford, and ordered a retrial on plaintiffs' design defect claim.
Click the links below to see how Hegge & Confusione's brief framed the issue for the appellate court and led to the ruling for our clients.