Grimshaw V Ford

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Facts In the case of Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company, 119 Cal. App. 3d 757 (1981), the following is a list of facts that will help in determining the legality of the actions taken by Ford Motor Company. In May of 1968, Ford Motor Company developed a subcompact car that was to be produced domestically. In order to gain a larger market share, Ford designed, manufactured and the vehicle was shipped in order to be the road in a very short time frame. The first few years of sales were good, but in May 1972, Lily Gray was traveling with her thirteen year-old passenger, Richard Grimshaw when the car suddenly stalled and was rear-ended by another vehicle traveling approximately 32 miles per hour. The impact killed Lily Gray (after succumbing to congestive heart failure) and permanently disfigured thirteen year-old Richard Grimshaw with burns to his face and body (Leggett, 1999, para. 7). Grimshaw and Gray’s heirs sued Ford motor company based on theories of negligence and strict liability, alleging that the defendants knew from pre-manufacturing crash tests regarding the design flaws with the fuel system (Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company, 1981). Legal Analysis In order to remain competitive in the subcompact market, Ford began designing an automobile which ultimately became the Pinto. The Pinto project was a rush project and there were several design flaws (Ford Pinto, 2012, para. 1). The Ford Pinto had a questionable design from the beginning. The fuel tank was located behind the rear axle instead of above it, which was done initially to create more trunk space. In addition, the Pinto was designed to have only 9-10 inches of “crush space” between the rear axle and the gas tank, which was far less than any other similar car. The Pinto was more susceptible to crushing as it was missing reinforcement in the rear section and had a diminutive bumper.
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