Ford Motor Company settles multi-million dollar lawsuit in Mississippi

JASPER COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Ford Motor Company has agreed to settle a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit in Mississippi.

A Jasper County jury awarded $131 million to the estate of Brian Cole, 22, of Meridian who died in a car accident in 2001 after being ejected from his vehicle.

The suit claimed his seat belts failed because they were poorly designed, and that the vehicle he was in had a propensity to roll over after a tire blowout as it did in the accident.

Two previous trials ended in mistrial, but Thursday a jury awarded Cole's family $131 million dollars and Ryan Cole $1.5 million. Defense attorney Tom Tullos of Bay Springs said shortly after the jury verdict was announced that Ford agreed to settle the case before punitive damages were considered. The amount of the settlement is confidential.

Cole was an 18th-round draft choice of the New York Mets in 1998.

The accident occurred on a state highway near the Florida-Georgia line.

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