• Ford could be forced to pay $1.7 billion in damages linked to F-250 roof design, per Bloomberg. 
  • Ford was previously ordered to pay $24 million to the family of a couple killed in a crash.
  • Ford told The Wall Street Journal the verdict was not supported by the evidence and would appeal. 

Ford could be forced to pay $1.7 billion in damages linked to the design of its F-250 pickup truck that led to the deaths of two people.

James Butler, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, told The Wall Street Journal that a Georgia jury ruled on Friday that Ford should pay punitive damages for selling 5.2 million Super Duty trucks that he described as dangerously weak and were susceptible to crushing occupants if the truck rolled over.

Butler said the case was brought against Ford by the family of Melvin and Voncile Hill, who were driving a 2002 Ford F-250 Super Duty truck from their farm when the right front tire blew out and the truck rolled over, killing both.

"The Hill family is glad this part of the case is finally over," Butler told The Journal. "They intend to persevere and make Ford pay."

Gerald Davidson, another lawyer representing the Hill family, told Bloomberg the jury had previously awarded $24 million in compensatory damages to the Hills and allocated 70% of the blame to Ford.

"We are very, very happy for the Hill family and very happy for the advancement of automobile safety," he said.

The $1.7 billion punitive damages ruling is exceptionally high. Georgia law indicates that 75% of the proceeds of punitive damages must be paid to the state of Georgia, with the rest split between plaintiffs and lawyers.

A spokesperson for Ford told The Journal the automaker intended to appeal the ruling. 

"While our sympathies go out to the Hill family, we don't believe the verdict is supported by the evidence, and we plan to appeal," he said.

More recently Ford has been hampered by quality issues across its range, including a safety defect in its Mustang Mach-E SUV that could have affected over 49,000 cars.

According to Department of Transportation data compiled by The Journal, the automaker has more than three times the amount of cars affected by recalls than Tesla, but produces far more vehicles.    

Ford didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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