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MELANIE P. IVY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 10-10786.
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

July 11, 2011.

Before CARNES, ANDERSON and FARRIS,* Circuit Judges.

ANDERSON, Circuit Judge.

The background facts were set out concisely in the district court’s opinion:

Plaintiff Melanie Ivy is a woman in her mid-twenties who was injured in a single-car accident when driving a vehicle manufactured by Defendant Ford Motor Company.

On May 22, 2006, when Ivy was twenty-four years old, she was traveling on Holcomb Bridge Road in Gwinnett County, Georgia in her mother’s 1996 Ford Explorer. She was initially in the right lane and then moved into the left lane. As she was moving into the left lane, a truck, which had been in front of her in the right lane, also moved into the left lane. To avoid a collision with the truck, Ivy abruptly steered left and then abruptly steered right and lost control of the Explorer. Ivy’s efforts to avoid colliding with the truck caused her Explorer to roll, and she was ejected from the vehicle. As a result of her injuries suffered during the crash, Ivy is now a paraplegic.

The investigating police officer determined that the contributing factor to the crash was Ivy’s loss of control of her vehicle, but no citations were issued. Holcomb Bridge Road is a flat, paved road and was dry on the day of the accident.
In September 1995, Ivy’s mother, Ruby Bobo, purchased the Ford Explorer that Ivy was driving on May 22, 2006. From the time of purchase until the accident, Ivy and her family drove the Explorer. Prior to the accident, the Explorer was involved in several other accidents, in which the following damages were sustained: (1) $3,374 in damages caused by driving the Explorer under a tree in January 1998; (2) $1,722 in damages as a result of a rollover crash in April 1998; (3) $2,679 in damages from backing into a concrete barrier in February 1999; and (4) unknown damages from a December 2005 multiple-car crash near Holcomb Bridge Road arising from Ivy being cut off by another driver.

At the time of the 2006 accident, the Explorer was over ten years old and had an odometer reading of 185,428 miles. Ivy does not know how fast she was travelling at the time of the accident, but testified in her deposition that she thinks the speed limit was forty-five miles per hour and she was travelling with the flow of traffic. Shortly after the accident, the Explorer was released to Bobo’s insurance company for salvage.

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