Jury Gives Ford the Win in Explorer Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit

California police officer alleged he passed out and crashed because of carbon monoxide.

Jury Gives Ford the Win in Explorer Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit

Posted in News

— A Ford Explorer carbon monoxide lawsuit is over after a California jury returned a verdict in favor of Ford.

On September 6, 2015, Newport Beach police officer Brian McDowell was driving a 2014 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor on his way to a traffic collision when he suddenly passed out.

The Explorer SUV drifted across the center median, went over a curb and crashed into a tree.

McDowell sued by alleging defects in the Explorer caused exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide to enter the vehicle and poison him. He alleges the crash left him with a traumatic brain injury, as well as back and neck injuries.

The lawsuit alleges Ford didn't perform proper testing of the Explorer and should have known about the alleged defects.

In its defense, Ford argued the plaintiff passed out from a medical event that was not related to carbon monoxide or exhaust fumes. Ford also asserted McDowell was injured because he was not wearing a seat belt.

The jury also heard how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spent six years investigating alleged defects that caused Explorers to fill up with exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide.

During the six-year federal investigation, numerous lawsuits had been filed against Ford, including both personal and large class action lawsuits.

NHTSA closed its investigation when after six years it determined 2011-2017 Ford Explorers were not producing high carbon monoxide levels in the occupant compartments.

NHTSA retained experts in several fields including automotive, medical, occupational safety and environmental health, and found carbon monoxide levels were "below current accepted health standards."

Levels did increase in some Explorers, especially police vehicles, but that was because the Explorers had been worked on, altered or damaged.

The Ford Explorer carbon monoxide lawsuit was filed in the Orange County Superior Court of California: Brian McDowell, et al. v. Ford Motor Company.