Austin Attorneys Prevail on Behalf of Ford in Products Liability Appeal
Austin attorneys Mike Eady and Elizabeth Brabb recently prevailed in the appeal of a wrongful death case in the Dallas Court of Appeals on behalf of Ford Motor Company. The trial court granted summary judgment for Ford based on the Texas statute of repose. In affirming that summary judgment, the court of appeals conducted a lengthy analysis of section 71.031 of the Civil Practice & Remedies Code and the Restatement “most significant relationship” test and concluded that Texas law applied. The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the law of Virginia (where the accident occurred) or Michigan (where Ford designed the vehicle) should apply in lieu of the law of Texas (where the vehicle was originally sold and where the plaintiffs resided). The court also disagreed with plaintiff’s argument that the Texas statute of repose should have been tolled because the decedent was under 18. The court reasoned that, among other things, it would be contrary to the purpose of statutes of repose—providing defendants a final deadline after which they can no longer be sued---to apply exceptions that are intended to toll statutes of limitations. This opinion will be useful for any cases with choice of law or repose issues. The opinion is available below.