by: Anne Austin, 3/27/21
The US Supreme Court recently heard the case Ford Motor Company v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court et al., which will shape the future of corporate liability for product use. Two separate car crashes in two different states, Missouri and Montana, occurred due to faulty Ford products, one resulting in death and the other serious brain injury. In both cases, the victim/victim’s family sought to sue Ford because of their role. However, Ford argued that because the company is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Michigan, lawsuits in Missouri and Montana do not fall under the proper jurisdiction to be sued. The Supreme Court ruled that this is not the case– any state Ford advertised in, they are liable for their products in. This was absolutely the right call by the Supreme Court. If Ford spent millions advertising their cars in the states where the crash occurred, they had enough in-state business to be liable. Clearly if they thought stakeholder value wasn’t important enough in these states to do business in them, they wouldn’t heavily market their products in them. This sets a judicial standard for future cases going forward that will hopefully ensure safer products and in the event of faulty products, justice for those harmed.