Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Car crash on a plate

The Ford Pinto, manufactured from 1970 to 1980, became notorious, and gained a place in legal history, in the case of Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co.

The court case followed a road accident in which one Lilly Grey was killed and a teenager, Richard Grimshaw, was badly burned. An incriminating memo indicated that Ford were aware of a dangerous design fault which made the Pinto's fuel tank vulnerable to damage following a rear end collision, but failed to correct it, calculating that the necessary modifications would cost the company more than simply paying compensation for any deaths and injuries resulting from the fault:

Through the results of the crash tests Ford knew that the Pinto's fuel tank and rear structure would expose consumers to serious injury or death in a 20 to 30 mile per hour collision. There was evidence that Ford could have corrected the hazardous design defects at minimal cost but decided to defer correction of the shortcomings by engaging in a cost-benefit analysis balancing human lives and limbs against corporate profits. Ford's institutional mentality was shown to be one of callous indifference to public safety. There was substantial evidence that Ford's conduct constituted ‘conscious disregard' of the probability of injury to members of the consuming public.
(119 Cal. App. 3d at 813)

Eventually, in addition to compensatory damages of $2.5 million, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District awarded punitive damages of $3.5 million against Ford.

By now you must all be asking yourselves the obvious question - where you can get a dishwasher safe melamine plate, commemorating Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co, picturing the crumpled wreck of a Ford Pinto? Just imagine what a wonderful wall hanging or dinnertime conversation starter it would make! The answer, my friends is here!

Yours for only $20.00!

Warning: plate may explode in microwave ovens.