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M. Brandon Smith
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$55 Million Verdict Awarded Against DaimlerChrysler After Failing To Address Deadly Defect In Its Vehicle

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DaimlerChrysler recently had a $50 million dollar punitive verdict rendered against them by a Los Angeles jury after failing to warn and fix a known vehicle defect in many of its vehicles. Plaintiff, Richard Mraz suffered fatal head injuries when his unoccupied and parked 1992 Dodge Dakota truck slipped into reverse and ran over him. The design and product defect was known by the Detroit Auto maker but they choose not to do what was necessary to fix the problem and prevent tragic situations like this one. The jury award the $50 million in punitive damages to show DaimlerChrysler it should have addressed the inadvertent reverse defect and that its decisions to put profits over people was completely unacceptable.

At trial, Nelson responded to this argument by telling jurors that DaimlerChrysler “had 20 years to take care of this problem [while] Richard Mraz had two seconds to get this vehicle under control.”

It is apparent through the size of the verdict tat the jury did not buy DaimlerChrysler’s arguments that it was not at fault and did nothing wrong. Maybe this verdct will remind them and others in the industry not to take short cuts in the future just so they can make a lager profit.