Donna Wilson Yudesis v. Ford Motor Company and Raquel Leal – Cause No. 2020-DCL-00822
This passenger knee airbag deployment product liability lawsuit was tried to a jury in Cameron County in May of 2022. Partners Jaime A. Saenz and Norton A. “Trey” Colvin, III defended Ford Motor Company. The lawsuit arose out of a two-vehicle accident that occurred on July 23, 2018 in San Benito, Texas. The accident resulted in skin avulsion injuries to the Plaintiff’s lower leg after the passenger knee airbag in the 2018 Ford Explorer deployed as designed in the accident. There was no dispute that the knee airbag caused the lower leg injuries. The Plaintiff claimed that the airbag was defectively designed. The defense focused on the design and efficacy of the frontal crash safety system including the airbag which was designed to deploy independently from the other airbags in the 2018 Ford Explorer. The defense also focused on the Plaintiff’s co-morbidities and older age that made her more susceptible to the type of lower leg injuries she sustained. The case was tried for four days and although the jury found the 2018 Ford Explorer defective by design, the jury awarded compensatory damages less than the last settlement offer made by Ford Motor Company in the months before the trial began. The jury also found that Defendant Raquel Leal was fifty percent responsible for having been the cause of the accident.