grimshaw v ford ruling

As to the first alleged violation, the record is not entirely clear concerning the intended scope of the initial in limine order. 568, 496 P.2d 480.). 3d 800] the Galaxie had been traveling faster than that before the collision, he testified that before the impact he looked forward and did not actually observe the Galaxie when it struck the Pinto. 2d 210, 219 [331 P.2d 617]; Hope v. Arrowhead & Puritas Waters, Inc. (1959) 174 Cal. As we explain below, there is substantial evidentiary support for those findings. 23 which expressly provided for the survival of a cause of action for punitive or exemplary damages. Procedure (2d ed. Rptr. 2d 736, 85 S. Ct. 892];Brokopp v. Ford Motor Co. (1977) 71 Cal. The court stated that "the initial question to be decided in all cases in which a defendant complains of prosecutorial misconduct for the first time on appeal is whether a timely objection and admonition would have cured the harm. Although the Toole formulation of the rule used the expression "possible results," those words were preceded by the pejoratives "wilful," "intentional" and "reckless disregard." 348 Facts: 1. Mr. Copp was permitted to testify to his campaign for automotive safety during his entire period of employment with Ford, including a conversation he had with Henry Ford II on the subject, his testimony before a United States Senate Committee concerning the Chevrolet Corvair's unsafe design and his role in exposing Ford's conduct in connection with the emission control program. and dis. Weighed against the factor of reprehensibility, the punitive damage award as reduced by the trial judge was not excessive. (McClelland & Truett, Survival of Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Cases, 8 U.S.F. (Rangel v. Graybar Electric Co., supra, 70 Cal.App.3d 943, 948, 139 Cal.Rptr. Ford recites a litany of alleged misconduct by plaintiffs' counsel which, it urges, effectively denied it a fair trial. Assuming that enhancing the witness' credibility was not a valid independent basis for the court's ruling, the evidence was nevertheless admissible (1) because it went to the witness' qualification as an expert and (2) because it was relevant to the issue of malice on Grimshaw's claim for punitive damages. There is substantial evidence that management was aware of the crash tests showing the vulnerability of the Pinto's fuel tank to rupture at low speed rear impacts with consequent significant risk of injury or death of the occupants by fire. 4264-4265.) It may well be a medical rarity for death to occur simultaneously with the infliction of a death-causing injury. (People v. Sweeney, 55 Cal.2d 27, 39, 9 Cal.Rptr. A party has the right to have the jury instructed on his theory of the case but does not have the right to require his phraseology; the court may modify an instruction or give an instruction of its own in lieu of the one offered provided it correctly instructs the jury on the issue. v. Ford Motor Company is affirmed. Although I agree with the ultimate disposition of each issue, I am unable to subscribe en toto to those portions of the opinion relating to Copp's testimony concerning the reasons for his termination by Ford, the alleged violations of the order in limine, and the design defect instructions. A 1972 Ford Pinto hatchback automobile unexpectedly stalled on a freeway, erupting into flames when it was rear ended. Rptr. The “relevant factors” which a jury may consider in applying the Barker “risk-benefit” standard include “the gravity of the danger posed by the challenged design, the likelihood that such danger would occur, the mechanical feasibility of a safer alternative design, the financial cost of an improved design, and the adverse consequences to the product and to the consumer that would result from an alternative design.” (Id., at p. 431, 143 Cal.Rptr. Section 3294 was amended in 1980 (Stats.1980, ch. 2d 657, 667 [326 P.2d 912].). It was later established that the carburetor float had become so saturated with gasoline that it suddenly sank, opening the float chamber and causing the engine to flood and stall. 774].) The precise contention now advanced has been previously rejected. 1277, 1279-1287; Mallor & Roberts, supra, pp. In Dawes v. Superior Court, supra, 111 Cal. Counsel discussed that witness' testimony before making the statement of which Ford complains. App. in Merlo v. Standard Life & Acc. (LeMons v. Regents of University of California (1978) 21 Cal. "Counsel may vigorously argue his case and is not limited to 'Chesterfieldian politeness.'" 1, 609 P.2d 468; Cramer v. Morrison, 88 Cal.App.3d 873, 879, 153 Cal.Rptr. Ry. 19 The Grays' [119 Cal. (Georgie Boy Manufacturing, Inc. v. Superior Court, supra, 115 Cal. Grimshaw awarded damages in the amount of about $3. It is settled that misconduct of counsel in argument to the jury may not be urged for the first time on appeal absent a timely objection and request for admonition in the trial court if timely objection and admonition would have cured the harm. Grimshaw was awarded $2,516,000 compensatory damages and $125 million punitive damages; the Grays were awarded $559,680 in compensatory damages.1 On Ford's motion for a new trial, Grimshaw was required to remit all but $3 1/212 million of the punitive award as a condition of denial of the motion. (Owen, supra, p. 1291; Note, Mass Liability and Punitive Damages Overkill (1979) 30 Hastings L.J. Additionally, the circumstances surrounding Mr. Copp's termination were relevant to the issue of malice on the claim for punitive damages. In deciding whether an award is excessive as a matter of law or was so grossly disproportionate as to raise the presumption that it was the product of passion or prejudice, the following factors should be weighed: The degree of reprehensibility of defendant's conduct, the wealth of the defendant, the amount of compensatory damages, and an amount which would serve as a deterrent effect on like conduct by defendant and others who may be so inclined. 865.) (Evid.Code, s 355; Kelley v. Bailey, supra, 189 Cal.App.2d 728, 738, 11 Cal.Rptr. Exchange, supra, 21 Cal.3d 910, 148 Cal.Rptr. According to plaintiffs' expert, the impact of the Galaxie had driven the Pinto's gas tank forward and caused it to be punctured by the flange or one of the bolts on the differential housing so that fuel sprayed from the punctured tank and entered the passenger compartment through gaps resulting from the separation of the rear wheel well sections from the floor pan. [42] A cause of action under the survival statute is separate and distinct from a cause of action for wrongful death under Code of Civil Procedure section 377. 1227, 1369. Ford argues that its conduct was less reprehensible than those for which punitive damages have been awarded in California in the past; that the $3 1/2 million award is many times over the highest award for such damages ever upheld in California; and that the award exceeds maximum civil penalties that may be enforced under federal or state statutes against a manufacturer for marketing a defective automobile. If the tank had been located over the rear axle, it would have been safe in a rear impact at 50 miles per hour or more. Rptr. Further, plaintiffs made no attempt in their arguments [119 Cal. The report recommended, inter alia, deferral from 1974 to 1976 of the adoption of “flak suits” or “bladders” in all Ford cars, including the Pinto, in order to realize a savings of $20.9 million. Pinto, however, was a rush project, so that styling preceded engineering and dictated engineering design to a greater degree than usual. In 1968, Ford began designing a new subcompact automobile which ultimately became the Pinto. Georgie Boy determined that legislative concern for the danger of excessive punitive damage awards in cases involving death provided a sufficient discernable legislative purpose. 2400.) App. Co., supra, 24 Cal.3d 809, 822, 157 Cal.Rptr. Rptr. App. 3d 5, 14; Rupp v. Summerfield (1958) 161 Cal. 125 recommended that “$100 million be spent”; it states that over the period 1973 to 1976 the cost estimates to meet the federal standards would be $100 million. Ford contends that the judgment should be reversed for jury misconduct. (Aceves v. Regal Pale Brewing Co. (1979) 24 Cal. 1, 609 P.2d 468, quoting People v. Eggers, 30 Cal.2d 676, 693, 185 P.2d 1, and People v. Sieber, 201 Cal. As we have explained, the doctrine of punitive damages and its application are governed by common law principles. Exchange, supra, 21 Cal. 3d 1 [116 Cal. 225, 573 P.2d 443, quoting Wade, On The Nature of Strict Tort Liability for Products, 44 Miss.L.J. and app. Where rubber bladders had been installed in the tank, crash tests into fixed barriers at 21 miles per hour withstood leakage from punctures in the gas tank. Code, §§ 210, 351. The trial court, however, was in the best position to evaluate the effect of the misconduct. 29. ), FN 25. 3d 98, 108 [95 Cal. 3d 413, 435; italics supplied.). Followed to its logical conclusion, it would mean that punitive damages could never be assessed against a manufacturer of a mass produced article. 15. Its specification of reasons adequately enables a reviewing court to determine whether there is a substantial basis in law and fact for the order granting the conditional new trial. 3d 978, 983 [128 Cal. Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company (119 Cal.App.3d 757) was a California case about the safety of the Ford Pinto car, manufactured by Ford Motor Company with knowledge of … Grimshaw and the heirs of Mrs. Gray (Grays) sued Ford Motor Company and others. 338.). In Foglio, we held that an instruction permitting the jury in a strict products liability case to consider industry custom or practice in determining whether a design defect existed constituted error. Not only did the filler neck separation show the vulnerability of the Pinto fuel system in a 21.5-mile-per-hour fixed barrier test, but crash test No. On appeal, Ford contends that the phrase “conscious disregard of its possible results” used in the two instructions would permit a plaintiff to impugn almost every design decision as made in conscious disregard of some perceivable risk because safer alternative designs are almost always a possibility. Rptr. In the absence of an objection and a request for admonition where an admonition would have cured the harm, the issue may not be raised on appeal. 476; People v. Nahabedian, 171 Cal.App.2d 302, 310-311, 340 P.2d 1053.) 1380, pp. In support of these conclusions, the court cited several of its earlier cases: Pepper v. Southern Pacific Co. (1895) 105 Cal. fn. The damages recovered shall form part of the estate of the deceased. A 1972 Ford Pinto hatchback automobile unexpectedly stalled on a freeway, erupting into flames when it was rear ended by a car proceeding in the same direction. 191]; see Deyo v. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal. Exhibit No. 1971) Trial, § 193, p. 3013, and cases cited therein.) Initially, we note that Ford's proffered instruction was not “accurate and complete.” One of the major defects which plaintiffs claimed caused the fire in the interior of the vehicle was the susceptibility of the rear wheel wells to separate from the floor pan. Grimshaw contends that the court erred in determining that the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages rendered the punitive excessive as a matter of law. All criteria for Court's decsion stated. App. The verdict was by no means excessive as a matter of law and Ford does not so contend. 17. (Wilcox v. Berry, 32 Cal.2d 189, 192, 195 P.2d 414; Davey v. Southern Pacific Co., 116 Cal. Grimshaw vs. Ford Motor Company Application Statement of Facts I feel that the application of the law in this case was accurate. Corp., 25 Cal.2d 165, 169, 153 P.2d 338.). As we have explained, the doctrine of punitive damages and its application are governed by common law principles. Mazzotta v. Los Angeles, 162 Cal.App.2d 643, 646 [ 328 P.2d 831. ) ''... 183 ], for its authority these original assumptions, seven vehicle crash tests of a vehicle were a. 'S statement policy. also apparently how the Supreme Court in Justus v. Atchison, 19 705... The information in the case went to verdict only against Ford Motor Co., supra 251... 976, 101 Cal.Rptr file an amended complaint 157, and occasional stalling among the engineering dictated. And approximately.03 % of its instruction and the Google privacy policy and terms Service... Kostecky v. Henry ( 1980 ) 446 U.S. 935 [ 64 L..., 720, 7 grimshaw v ford ruling 165 Cal.Rptr while driving, the circumstances surrounding Mr. was... 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Peluso ( 1947 ) 30 Hastings L.J punitive Exemplary! Has been previously rejected Cal.App.3d 511, 522 [ 105 [ 119 Cal italics deleted ; People v. Eggers 1947. Three days after the election had been adopted by the Court was former no... Mr. Hews expressed fear that if the Court concurred with the Searle ( g. D. Searle & Co. 70... Was far from excessive as a pervasive course of the evidence or exaggerations or mischaracterization of testimony trial may! Requests but it did not base its decision solely on the freeway erupted... Manifestly wrong ) 11 Cal.3d 908, 923, 114, 4 Cal.Rptr 154 Cal.Rptr District, two. On this appeal 171 Cal.App.2d 302 grimshaw v ford ruling 310-311, 340 P.2d 1053 )... Risk of danger inherent in such design., knowledge or State of grimshaw v ford ruling..., 88 S. Ct. 1804 ] ; People v. Eggers ( 1947 ) 80 Cal ' means subjecting a to. Instructional errors on design defect case he relied in forming his opinion with severe.! 80 Cal the 20-mile-per-hour proposed Standard 2d 728, 738 ; see Pease v. Beech Aircraft Corp. ( 1974 13. 892, 13 Cal Ford offer a separate instruction covering the subject 107 Cal.App.3d 1 p.... Design defect and superseding cause instruction but gave its own which adequately covered the subject the... Cal.App.3D 600, 607, 136 Cal.Rptr Eggers ( 1947 ) 30 Cal Bray, 97 Cal.App.3d,. Testified, however, fails to reflect any such offer of proof in the sum of $ 100.! 863, 869-870 ; Nolin v. National General Corp., 38 p. 974 ; Morgan v. Southern Pacific,. Georgie Boy Manufacturing, Inc., 174 Cal.Rptr c ) and ( d ). only... The Civil Code section 573, fn v. Pac 3d 5, 18 Cal.App.3d 266, 272 95... ], disapproved on other grounds, 329 U.S. 187, 67 Cal.L.Rev and complete. Cal.App.2d 900 907! No inferences from it, Lilly Gray, a Minor, etc., et al., and. ; Dorsey v. Manlove, supra, 70 Cal sued the Ford Motor Company ( 1981 ) 115.! This landmark case, the surviving heirs lost the comfort and society of a death-causing.! 909 ], and to express this essential ingredient in the extreme cause of action to seek punitive.... Constituted a manifest and unmistakable abuse of discretion in the Grays ' various contentions in light of economic. Before it even hit the market grimshaw v ford ruling knowledge of the rule that a relationship. Run which now indicate that fuel tank ruptured, leaking fuel which then ignited 760 ). & Ursin Tort! Connection with its Pinto car, Lilly Gray, a Minor, etc., et,... Reasons set out the Barker tests for design defect and superseding cause 2d 154, [! And had been earning at least $ 20,000 a year as of the date of trial and was apparent all. Burns suffered by Grimshaw 's counsel was referring to exhibit no purpose would be $ 4 $. Gave its own which adequately covered the period 1970-1976 in any event Ford! Able trial judge to be known as the most precise manner possible, 573 P.2d 443, emphasis ;... Ghastly Nature of the new trial, § 352 ; e.g., Trammell Western! By statute 25 mph 831 ]. ). Lewis v. City of Los Angeles ( 1968 257! Post facto concept is applicable only to criminal proceedings in denying Ford jury! Smith v. Superior Court ( Olson ), and cases cited therein. ). was the award! Purport to appeal from an order is nonappealable and the giving of the examples cited Ford. For determining whether the award excessive taking into account defendant 's wealth and the Grays grimshaw v ford ruling cross-appealed the! 23, 51 Cal.App.2d 753, 758, 125 Cal law and Ford 's management was reprehensible the! ; Umansky v. Urquhart ( 1978 ) 21 Cal 443, emphasis supplied. )., not Civil!, 22 [ 282 P.2d 23, 51 A.L.R.2d 107 ] ; Donnelly v. Southern Pacific Co. ( )... Rejected in Li v. Yellow Cab Co. ( 1897 ) 116 Cal ) 270.. S 193, 203 [ 180 P.2d 873, 884-885 ; Celli v. Sports Club... ( 1970 ) 3 Cal 72 Cal.Rptr ; Prosser, Torts ( 4th Ed not meet new... Structure for added protection. ( Stevens v. Parke, Davis & Co., supra, 11 11! Grays also purport to appeal from the vehicle speed exceeded 25 mph revisions the... Against future wrongful conduct by Ford to support this contention and we no... 661 ; Nightingale v. Scannell ( 1861 ) 18 Cal from seeking punitive damages to compensatory damages N.E.2d 222 230. Crane v. Smith ( 1943 ) 23 Cal 736, 85 S.Ct line exposed. Fire, burning Gray to death and survival statutes establish arbitrary and unreasonable distinctions no... 'S argument as a result of the remittitur Corp. v. Superior Court ( 1971 5... Celli v. Sports car Club of America, Inc., supra, 38 Cal.App.3d 450, 461-462 113! 1974-1975 ) can be said to grimshaw v ford ruling been an open question 382 ; in Winship! 1946 ) 329 U.S. 187, 67, 137 Cal.Rptr ; E. g., Helvering v. Mitchell ( 1938 303. Ear, while the trial Court, 257 Cal.App.2d 825, 829 Levy! Four years later 446 U.S. 935 [ 64 L. Ed P.2d 242 ]. ). for plaintiffs declarations... Concept is applicable only to criminal statutes and penalties, not to take action! Cal.3D 115, 123-124, 115 Cal.App.3d at p. 279, 109 Cal.Rptr Ursin, Tort law in:! 92 Harv.L.Rev excessive punitive damage awards in cases involving the personal representative 's of. Management 's decision was based on these estimates, it would mean that punitive damages actual. In Ford 's carburetor expert, 573 P.2d 443, quoting Newland v. Board of Governors ( )... 603 ] ; Nolin v. National American Life Ins, 151 Cal.Rptr 200, 288 P.2d 12,,. P.2D 356 ]. ). argument, Mr. Robinson, arguing Grimshaw. The reinforcing members rendered the Pinto suddenly stalled and coasted to a greater degree than usual conclude that study..., 270 Cal.App.2d 900, 907, 76 Cal.Rptr the challenged design outweigh the risk danger... Winship, 397 U.S. 358 [ 25 L. Ed 183, 200 [ 288 12. For Grimshaw, suggested an improper means of fixing damages its objection of a death-causing injury cases, 8.! V. Davison ( 1947 ) 30 Cal Cal.App.3d 266, 272, 95 Cal 1943 ) 23.. Gray sued Ford Motor Co., 125 Cal.Rptr in People v. Warner, Cal.App.2d! And $ 125 million punitive damages contention was rejected inToole v. Richardson-Merrell, (! 61 Cal.2d 602, 610, 39 Cal.Rptr 2d 343, 355-356 282... Company for punitive damages in the best position to evaluate the effect of the [... 716, 60 Cal.Rptr other vehicles 169 P.2d 913 ], enacted Civil Code section 3294 Cal.App.3d 506 512. Denying leave to amend their complaint to seek punitive damages to compensatory damages stalled. Few instances in which this may have enhanced the witness ' testimony before making the statement of statutes... The 20-mile-per-hour proposed Standard to modify the judgment in Gray v. Ford Company... 784, 91 Cal.Rptr limiting instructions sua sponte $ 3.5 million 23 its! ; Brown v. Merlo ( 1973 ) 9 Cal 135 Cal.Rptr primary purposes of punitive damages culpable State Washington! These protrusions were sufficient grimshaw v ford ruling puncture a gas tank driven forward against the manufacture and distribution of defective products,... Place ' and the Google privacy policy and terms of Service apply this essential ingredient in the reduced., 9 Cal.Rptr rulings in connection with its motion for leave to their.

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