In 2009, Leos-Ortiz was injured when his 1999 Ford Explorer rolled over on a Texas highway. Ford lost the civil product liability case in late August, and Leos-Ortiz was awarded $4.8 million in damages by a Texas jury. According to several court documents, Leos-Ortiz claimed his single-vehicle rollover was due to a design defect in his vehicle’s window glass that damaged his left arm.
“At the time of the rollover event, Jose Leos-Ortiz was operating the vehicle when he suddenly and without warning lost control and the vehicle rolled over, resulting in the shattering of the driver’s side door glass and the traumatic amputation of his left arm,” reads an excerpt from the original claim made against Ford in June 2011.
The original complaint also claimed the Ford 1999 Explorer lacked electric stability control, advanced glazing and had inadequate structural integrity of the vehicle’s side windows to withstand foreseeable forces during a rollover. All of these claims aided Leos-Ortiz’s overall product liability suit against Ford for not adequately keeping its drivers protected from partial ejection.
Ford initially claimed its vehicle windows were not to blame, then later tried unsuccessfully to settle out of court.
“Despite mediation and informal settlement negotiations including Ford’s offer during trial of $50,000, the parties could not resolve their differences,” according to court documents.
After both parties could not reach an out of court agreement, further court proceedings began.
Late August of 2018 was filled with days of testimony in which the court found Leos-Ortiz’s 1999 Ford Explorer to have been “defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous,” according to the court’s final judgment. It also concluded other results within the case:
• It found the automotive company to be at fault, with it being responsible for 90 percent of the sustained injuries.
• The jury found Leos-Ortiz’s past damages to be $3,300,000.
• It found his future damages to be $1,500,001.