Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball attorneys recently won an important appellate ruling at the Minnesota Supreme Court in a product defect lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. for injuries caused by a defective airbag. In addition to earning a critical victory for a Minnesota resident who suffered serious injuries when his airbag failed to deploy, the closely watched case has broad implications for individuals seeking a level playing field in litigation against national and multinational corporations.
At a time when corporations are seeking to limit legal venues and make it harder for individuals to file product defect and personal injury lawsuits, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Ford’s venue challenge arguments seeking the lawsuit’s dismissal. A majority on the court ruled that the Minnesota court system is the proper venue for the case filed by Adam Bandemer because the vehicle involved in the wreck was purchased Minnesota, Mr. Bandemer is a Minnesota resident, and the wreck occurred in the state. Mr. Bandemer was a passenger in a Ford Crown Victoria and suffered a serious head injury when the vehicle’s airbag failed to deploy during a January 2015 collision.
“What’s important about the decision is it ensures Minnesotans have recourse against national and multinational corporations that put defective products in the stream of commerce,” said Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball attorney Kyle Farrar, who tried the case along with KLFB attorney Mark Bankston. “Mr. Bandemer was a passenger in a Ford vehicle that was purchased, registered and being driven in Minnesota. To require him to litigate in Ford’s backyard of Michigan would be a manifest injustice, and ultimately would lead to significantly fewer cases being filed, therefor less means by which to ensure the safety of the products we use every day.”
The Minnesota Supreme Court decision upholds earlier rulings from the trial court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals that the case was properly filed in Minnesota. Ford is expected to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is Bandemer v. Ford Motor Co.