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Double Fault Ford Case Yields Record-Breaking Amount

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Jasper County, MSVeteran Mississippi attorney Tab Turner has handled close to 300 Ford Explorer rollover cases, but the Brian Cole wrongful death case stands out for several reasons. "There's no question this is the largest award I've seen," says Turner, referring to the $131 million the jury awarded to the Cole family in compensatory damages.

A promising young professional baseball player with a world of possibilities awaiting him, Brian Cole was killed in a highway traffic accident in 2001. He lost control of his SUV after he swerved to avoid colliding with a vehicle that moved into his lane.

"Ford killed a young man with a budding baseball career. The Mets were building its team around him and he had a tremendous future. Ford implied and insinuated that Brian Cole wasn't as good as the Mets thought he was"
"The back end of the Explorer started to slide around and turned the steering wheel to try to correct it and the SUV flipped and rolled three and a quarter times," says Turner, a no-nonsense southern lawyer from the well-known firm of Turner & Associates.

In the wrongful death suit filed against the Ford Motor Company, Turner argued there was a double fault with the vehicle: first, the vehicle's well-reported propensity for rollover accidents; and second, the so-called seat belt spool out defect. "We contended the seat belt didn't work properly because it had the spool out defect in it. It becomes unlocked and the webbing reels out like thread off a spool in a rollover accident."

It took almost nine years for the Brian Cole suit to be put to rest. "The Cole family should receive a check within the next 30 days," says Turner, who has been involved in the case for the last three years.

Ford argued vehemently that Cole had not been wearing the seat belt. It contended he had buckled it – but was actually sitting on top of the belt. "I've always thought that was a stupid argument," says Turner.

"This is unique case. Ford killed a young man with a budding baseball career. The Mets were building its team around him and he had a tremendous future. Ford implied and insinuated that Brian Cole wasn't as good as the Mets thought he was."

Turner's legal career has focused on SUV rollover accidents. Turner is credited with bringing attention to design faults in the Ford Explorer, which has been implicated in the death or injury of thousands of people worldwide. Turner has also been involved in at least 1000 cases against Firestone for defective tires.

Tab Turner is a trial attorney from Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Law School. He is the son of Otis Turner, who was appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court by then-Governor Bill Clinton.

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