Judge upholds $5.9 million crash verdict

By David Singleton | The Times-Tribune

A Lackawanna County judge has upheld a $5.9 million jury verdict against Ford Motor Co. for a 2010 crash that injured a Covington Twp. man and added $351,000 in delay damages.

The decision by Judge James Gibbons pushed total judgment in favor of John A. and Rosetta Cancelleri to nearly $6.3 million.

Mr. Cancelleri, then 83, was left partially paralyzed in August 2010, when the airbag on his 2005 Mercury Sable failed to deploy in a front-end collision with another car as he drove south on Route 307 in Spring Brook Twp.

A county jury that heard eight days of testimony and argument in August concluded a design defect in the Sable’s airbag and safety restraint system caused Mr. Cancelleri’s injuries. Jurors awarded damages of $4.4 million to Mr. Cancelleri and $1.5 million to his wife.

Judge Gibbons, who presided at the trial, denied Ford’s post-trial motion in a memorandum and order Friday, refusing to set aside the jury verdict and rejecting the automaker’s request for a new trial.

Acting on a separate motion filed by attorneys Bruce S. Zero and James F. Mundy, who represent Mr. and Mrs. Cancelleri, Judge Gibbons added delay damages of $351,090 to the jury’s $4.4 million award to Mr. Cancelleri.

The award covered the period from October 2011, a year after the couple filed their civil suit against Ford, through Aug. 21, when the jury returned its verdict.

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