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Ford Pays Out $131 Million in Wrongful Death Suit

When Ford was asked to pay $131 million to the family of a young man killed when his Explorer SUV rolled over in 2001, it was a big deal. Not only was the verdict among the largest in history, but the case itself reintroduced substantial concerns about the safety of SUVs and a history of corporate ignorance at Ford that makes Toyota look like Wikileaks.

Did you know that, in the early 1990's, Ford executives refused to let company test drivers experiment with vehicle response in certain SUV models because they were too dangerous?

Most people don't, but Adam Penenberg wrote an entire book about Ford and their dealings with dangerous vehicles. So, when the $131 million wrongful death verdict came out and the news industry essentially ignored it, Penenberg took to Twitter.

Over the course of a couple hours and more than a couple tweets, he laid out the entire story in easily-digestible excerpts.

The case revolved around a former professional baseball prospect for the New York Mets. Judged to be a star in the making, the young player was on his way home from spring training in 2001 when his Ford Explorer rolled over. He perished in the crash.

In fact, 1 in every 2,700 Ford Explorers manufactured between 1990 and 2001 rolled over and killed at least one individual riding in the vehicle. As Penenberg pointed out, Ford has paid out millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements to families and victims.

The $131 million verdict should have been news out of the gate. In the end, Penenberg had to break it on Twitter before the big players picked it up. But they've got it now.

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