McNabb v. Ford Motor Company
(March 2014)

Keith W. McDaniel and Quincy T. Crochet obtained summary judgment for Ford Motor Company in the 21st Judicial District Court for the Parish of Tangipahoa in two separate lawsuits filed by Hansford McNabb and his wife, Connie McNabb, as a result of a single vehicle accident that occurred on September 17, 2010.  According to plaintiffs, as Hansford McNabb was driving west on LA 10 in rural Tangipahoa Parish with his wife, Connie McNabb, riding as a front seat passenger, Hansford lost consciousness and their Ford F-250 veered off a curve and impacted a tree.  Connie McNabb sued her husband and alleged he was at fault for the accident.  However, Connie and Hansford also sued Ford and alleged that their injuries resulted from the non-deployment of the airbags in the F-250 due to an unspecified manufacturing defect.

Ford pushed plaintiffs for the details of their defect theory and the court ordered the production of liability expert reports, but the McNabbs failed to comply.  Ford then moved for summary judgment and argued that plaintiffs developed no proof of a defect and that they deprived Ford of the ability to inspect the vehicle because they failed to preserve it after the accident.  Plaintiffs suggested that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applied, but Ford countered that under controlling law res ipsa was inapplicable because the case did not present “highly unusual” circumstances and plaintiffs could not exclude other reasonable causes for the non-deployment – namely that the accident simply did not present forces which surpassed the deployment threshold.  After hearing oral argument on the motion, the court agreed and dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against Ford, with prejudice.