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Supreme Court permits state court lawsuits against Ford

Supreme Court permits state court lawsuits against Ford
© Greg Nash

The Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling Thursday said Ford Motor Co. can be sued in two state courts for accidents resulting from alleged automobile defects, regardless of where the cars were purchased.

The justices rejected an argument by the Michigan-based automaker that its links to Montana and Minnesota were too weak to justify their being sued in state courts there by victims of crashes involving Ford cars purchased out-of-state.

Justice Elena KaganElena Kagan Distortions in census numbers give a boost to Team Trump Court watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Sotomayor blasts Kavanaugh's decision on juvenile life sentences MORE, writing for the court, said Ford’s extensive effort to market, sell and service its vehicles across the U.S. authorizes Montana and Minnesota courts to review the claims against the auto giant.

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“The connection between the plaintiffs’ claims and Ford’s activities in those States,” she wrote, “is close enough to support specific jurisdiction.”

The 8-0 opinion Thursday affirmed the judgments of the Montana and Minnesota Supreme Courts. Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettJudge Judy on expanding Supreme Court: 'It's a dumb idea' Court watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress MORE did not participate in the case.

The products liability lawsuits arose after accidents involving a 1996 Ford Explorer that killed a Montana driver and a 1994 Ford Crown Victoria that seriously injured a passenger in Minnesota.