After a two week trial in Madison County, Illinois, it took the jury only one hour to return a verdict for Ford Motor Company in the first asbestos trial of the year in that jurisdiction. Plaintiffs Larry Williams and Meta Williams sought $14.7 million in damages claiming that Larry’s mesothelioma had been caused by exposure to brake dust. Larry Williams testified that he had performed thousands of brake jobs throughout the 1960s to the early 1990s at a garage in an alley on the west side of Chicago. He claimed that some replacement parts had been purchased at a Ford dealership, but that the vast majority were not Ford manufactured replacement parts.
Manny Sanchez, along with firm members, Mark Winters, Ryan McQueeney and April Vesely, successfully argued that plaintiffs’ testimony as to the number of brake jobs performed was not credible and that Larry Williams’ mesothelioma could not have been caused by Ford products. Sanchez noted in closing statement that Ford was the “last Mohican” in that all other defendants had settled out or been dismissed prior to the verdict.
The verdict marks the first trial result for Ford Motor Company in an asbestos matter in the state of Illinois. Ford was also represented by Darrell Grams of Texas and Eric Bergstrom of California.