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$________ Ford minibus allegedly defectively designed due to placement of cutaway holes under cover of front bumper assembly - Plaintiff mechanic incorrectly thought that cutaways were to be used to facilitate lifting of the minibus to allow servicing - Minibus falls from airlift and lands on plaintiff - Severe trauma to chest resulting in collapse of both lungs, injuries to thorax and several rib fractures.

Richmond County, New York

This products liability action was brought by the male plaintiff mechanic who suffered on-the-job injuries when a minibus fell off a pneumatic air lift and landed on the plaintiff’s chest. The vehicle had been lifted off the ground to allow for servicing.

The subject accident occurred at the auto body shop where the plaintiff worked as a mechanic. The plaintiff was in the process of servicing the minibus, which was elevated approximately eight feet by the pneumatic airlift. The evidence indicated that safety stands were in use to provide backup in the event of a failure of the pneumatic lift. However, the minibus was elevated beyond the full extension capabilities of the safety stands. While the plaintiff was working under the minibus, the minibus fell off the airlift, landing partially on his chest.

The plaintiff suffered crushing injuries to the thorax, several fractured ribs and the collapse of both lungs. The plaintiff contended that the defendant Ford, by providing cutaways on the trim cover of the front bumper assembly, created a confusing situation which led one to assume that such openings were placed there for the purpose of facilitating lifting of the vehicle for service. In fact, the cutaways were not meant for such use and were unsafe for such use.

The defendant Ford denied liability and specifically denied that the cutaways were placed on the trim to facilitate lifting. The defendant contended that the holes were placed there to relieve stress and limit fuel requirements.

The case settled following the liability phase of the trial, which apportioned fault 60% to the plaintiff and 40% to the defendant. The case settled prior to the damages phase for $________.

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