Sunday, November 10, 2013

D’Amario v. Ford Motor Co. case brief

D’Amario v. Ford Motor Co. case brief summary
806 So.2d 424 (2001)

In a crashworthy case, petitioners, passenger and mother, sued respondent, auto maker, over injuries from an alleged defect after a crash had taken place. The maker asserted third-party negligence and won on appeal in the Second District Court of Appeal (Florida). In a second such case, respondent, estate, sued petitioner, different maker, and, on appeal in the Third District, won a new trial. The conflicting cases were consolidated for appeal.

In the first case the parties stipulated to the jury that the negligent and excessive speed of the non-party intoxicated driver caused the initial crash into a tree. In the second case, the non-party drunk driver of the car which had crashed into the estate's decedent's car had appeared as an intentional tortfeasor on the same verdict form as the auto maker. Both trial juries ruled for the auto makers.


  • The supreme court held that the introduction of crash-causing fault, and the improper focus placed on the intoxication of the non-party drivers who caused the initial crashes, caused jury confusion in each case. 
  • Both the passenger and his mother, and the estate, were entitled to new trials. 
  • Because a maker alleged to be responsible for a defective product that resulted in a second accident and injury ordinarily could not be held liable for injuries caused by an initial crash, the fault of the manufacturer could not be compared or apportioned with the fault of the driver of the vehicle who allegedly caused the initial crash. Kidron, Inc. v. Carmona, 665 So. 2d 289, was disapproved to the extent it was inconsistent with the opinion.


The Second District's decision was quashed and the Third District's decision was approved to the extent it was consistent with this opinion.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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