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Product Liability / Auto Seat Back

Posted in on September 3, 2017 - Confidential

Neal v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation and William Charles Holloway, In the Circuit Court, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Florida. When the driver’s front seat in a 2000 Dodge Caravan collapsed in a rear impact, the driver’s head struck his two-year-old daughter’s head, causing a severe skull fracture and catastrophic brain injury. The child was properly restrained in an integrated child seat that DaimlerChrysler manufactured and permanently installed behind the driver’s seat, a seat DaimlerChrysler contended it designed to collapse. Plaintiffs proved that Chrysler had known for years that its seatbacks were failing in rear impacts, as shown in its own rear crash tests on the seats, and from its notice of real-world incidents where occupants located in and behind the minivan’s seats were injured or killed when those seats failed in rear impacts.

The wreck occurred when the Neal’s minivan was rear ended by the T.D.T. Mack truck driven by William Holloway. Because these defendants caused the wreck, plaintiffs also filed claims against T.D.T., Inc. and William Holloway for hitting the Neal minivan. These defendants admitted liability prior to trial.

The case settled on the eve of trial. At the defendants’ request, the amount of the settlement is confidential.