Reaction to Jury Award in Jasper County

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

A Jasper County jury awarded $131 million in compensatory damages Thursday, after Cole's family alleged negligence on the part of Ford Motor Company.

Cole was driving a Ford SUV in 2001 when he was involved in a wreck that claimed his life.

Cole was a promising minor league baseball player from Meridian and was in the New York Mets system at the time of his death.

Long-time Meridian defense attorney Wink Glover said he feels confident an appeal by Ford will be forthcoming.

"Now Jasper County has a reputation for having plaintiff- friendly jurors in cases down there," said Glover. "That is a rural area, but they are plaintiff-friendly."

"You have certain areas of the state where lawyers who try cases feel like there is a potential of large verdicts, just because of the jury makeups in those areas of the states," said attorney Rick Barry.

Glover says he would like to hear more details about the trial, such as who the witnesses were and what instructions the jurors were given before deliberation.

Jasper County has two county seats, Bay Springs and Paulding. Paulding, where this case was tried, is known for producing sympathetic juries. Bay Springs is known for being more conservative.

Will the award stand? There is reason to believe that Cole was on his way to making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars as a major league baseball player. His statistics for his final minor league season were impressive: a more than .300 batting average, with 19 home runs and 86 RBI, and 69 stolen bases in just 137 games.

"He could have become a highly-paid baseball player," said Glover. "He could have also broken his leg or something else that would have snuffed out his real opportunity as a major league baseball player."

"I think it will be taught, the fact that you have the potential in this state to be able for a jury to return a verdict in excess of $100 million," said Barry.

"No doubt there will be an appeal, but then again, I'm surprised Ford settled the punitive damages claim, because that's not done often," said Glover.

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  • by Another Father Location: Meridian on Sep 9, 2010 at 10:44 AM
    Eight years ago while praying in the early morning hours, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me not to sue. I was shocked, because I had nothing to sue for. Three months later my son was killed in an auto accident at the fault of another. I could have sued Honda, Clarke County Sherriff's Department, State Farm Insurance or the family of the driver. However, God had already prepared me for that. I'm not being critical of this family. I'm just saying that I had given my son to God when he was a baby and he belonged to God. The "accident" didn't surprise God. God was my source of strength and still is today. Why do I need someone's fat check to help me? It's all going to vanish anyway. I'll see my son again someday and that's worth more to me than money. Until then, God supplies for my every need and I don't have to deal with all the critical people who will now judge this family for the rest of their lives. I'm so thankful that God spared me!
  • by Anonymous on Sep 8, 2010 at 08:38 PM
    easy to think about cheaper for ford to pay off now then win later and would have spent 8x's more money.. besides it was only about the money as they took it and ran .. rather then enforce that ford recalls all this defective belts.. no different then the lie about toyota when people got killed.. all proved out they never hit the brakes or tried to bring the car under-control... like the fool that put hot coffee between her legs... and this isnt about race by truth speak the truth see it it is about greed..
  • by To MARY Location: MS on Sep 8, 2010 at 03:30 PM
    Ford did NOT settle this went to court THREE times I know of, I was called for jury duty last year for this case and it was the second time it had been in court. SO, this time was at least the third.
  • by ME Location: Meridian on Sep 8, 2010 at 01:35 PM
    So sick of the juries awarding anyone piles of money for no good reason. It's one of the reasons this country is so screwed up. AND no one cares if this a black or white family, it has no bearing on the case. It just happens to be a black family.
  • by Shinobi Location: Behind You! on Sep 7, 2010 at 10:19 AM
    Okay this is a no __ assesment! First to the family, i'm sorry for your loss! Being a private pilot, these type of lawsuits are the number 1 reason why the cost of flight training and general aviation are so high! Frivolous Lawsuits against aircraft makers like Cessna and Piper! Just because someone didn't respect and or heed the warning of operating the aircraft in a safely manner. What does this have to do with the topic? Simple any top heavy SUV is prone to roll over period! I have owned GEO Trackers, Jeeps, and a Isuzu Rodeo, they all warn of roll over dangers! This excessive ammount for a lawsuit is ridiculous and isn't going to bring that person back! I'm for Tort reform! If Frivolous lawsuits like this one continue, the automotive industry will suffer the same fate as General Avaition has, with excessives costs!
  • by Mary on Sep 6, 2010 at 07:59 PM
    Ford SETTLED. Why would they?? Think about that.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM
    no study needed kid messed up paid for it.. his actions his consequences... family's loss but to blame another for his action this is America anymore... surprised they are not blaming Bush
  • by Set Free by Truth on Sep 5, 2010 at 09:27 AM
    I wonder if Mr. Glover and Mr.Barry would have the same comments, if Mr. Cole had been a white ball player. What is meant by the phrase "the makeup of the jurors" as used by Mr. Barry.
  • by carol Location: jackson on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:15 PM
    one thing for sure the south will never would not have paid the money if they was not at fault.
  • by ANONYMOUS on Sep 4, 2010 at 06:17 PM
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