DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said on Thursday it would appeal an $18 million verdict from a Texas jury that found it liable for injuries suffered by the owner of a Ford F-150 pickup truck in a rollover accident.
Attorneys for Mario Castro, who was paralyzed after his 1997 F-150 SuperCab pickup went off the road and rolled over, said the ruling included $5 million in punitive damages against Ford for building the truck with a defective roof.
Castro had been drinking at the time of the August 2001 accident, according to Ford. The other two passengers in the truck suffered minor injuries.
"We knew going into the case that our client would have some responsibility for the incident itself," Castro's attorney Mikal Watts said in a statement. "However, we knew that the terrible injuries he received were caused by the failure of the roof to protect him, and that's what the jury pinned on Ford."
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said there was no evidence the roof of the F-150 was defective. Ford contended Castro's injuries were not caused by contact with the roof during rollover.
"Although we have empathy for everyone involved, this accident was a direct result of drinking and driving," Vokes said. "According to Castro's own statements and those of eyewitnesses and police, he lost control of his vehicle."