Across South Carolina

High court overturns verdict in Ford lawsuit


COLUMBIA --- South Carolina's highest court has overturned an $18 million verdict in a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. in a crash that killed one woman and paralyzed another.

Chief Justice Jean Toal wrote in an opinion published Monday that a trial judge was wrong to qualify an expert who testified about cruise control problems in Ford Explorers and shouldn't have allowed testimony about other incidents.

In 2006, a Greenville County jury awarded $15 million to Sonya Watson, who was 17 when she was paralyzed in a 1999 crash. Her attorneys argued that her Explorer "took off" while she was driving on the interstate.

Passenger Patricia Carter, was killed. The jury awarded $3 million to her estate.

Cruise ship deals with third case of illnesses

CHARLESTON --- Hundreds of passengers have taken ill with an intestinal bug on a Celebrity Cruise ship's third consecutive trip from South Carolina.

Cruise line spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said Monday that 350 of the 1,829 passengers on the Celebrity Mercury got ill during the latest cruise, which left Charleston March 8.

The line announced it was canceling a Monday port call in the British Virgin Islands and returning to Charleston on Thursday, a day earlier than scheduled. The ship has been undergoing cleaning at sea and will be cleaned again in Charleston.

Officials say more than 400 people got sick during a cruise that returned to Charleston on Feb. 26. On the next sailing from Charleston, 182 people took ill.

SLED to review 2007 fatal Charleston fire

CHARLESTON --- A prosecutor says state investigators are reviewing the 2007 fire that killed nine Charleston firefighters to see whether there was negligence.

Charleston-area prosecutor Scarlett Wilson said Monday that after the fire at the Sofa Super Store, the State Law Enforcement Division's initial role was to help determine the cause of the blaze.

She says she was approached by the families of two firefighters last year and asked SLED to consider whether negligence was involved.

She says SLED has agreed to look into it.

Wilson says there's nothing from what she has seen so far to indicate negligence.