(CN) – Ford Motor Co. is entitled to attorney-client protection for documents in a product-liability suit over rollovers, the Florida Court of Appeal ruled.
Lance Hall died in 1997 when the driver of the car he was in fell asleep. Hall was ejected from the car.
The trial court awarded his parents $60 million after finding that Ford put its Explorer vehicle on the market with handling and stability defects. The court of appeals reversed and the case continued.
When Ford reported only 16 cases of rollover accidents, the plaintiff’s lawyers did not believe it. The trial court ordered Ford to include documents for “suspended” cases that were in litigation.
When Ford failed to comply to the court’s satisfaction, the court issued a sanction, granting the plaintiff access to all of Ford’s databases. Ford complained that would violate attorney-client privilege, and Judge Ramirez agreed.
“Plaintiff presented no evidence to challenge any of the facts established by the sworn affidavits and testimony of Ford’s counsel,” Ramirez wrote. “Thus, the evidence was undisputed that (Ford’s) database is privileged.”