Already on the hook for the lion’s share of a $17.7 million judgment and waiting for a decision from a jury that was out considering punitive damages, Ford Motor Co. decided to settle with a couple who sued following a Christmas 2005 wreck that left the woman paralyzed.

The agreement came after a Clayton County, Ga., jury ordered Ford on Dec. 18 to pay more than $16 million of the judgment to compensate for what the plaintiffs argued were design defects in the 2002 Explorer sport utility vehicle in which the woman was a passenger.

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