On March 15, 2018, a Pasco County, Florida jury returned a $25,910,000 verdict against Ford Motor Company and the First Baptist Church of New Port Richey for a single wrongful death arising out of a 15 passenger E350 Van rollover. The crash happened on February 21, 2014, just outside of Lake City, Florida. The van was owned by The First Baptist Church of New Port Richey. The Church was using the van to transport members of its congregation from New Port Richey to a retreat in Georgia.
The rollover was immediately preceded by a catastrophic tread separation suffered by the left rear tire. The tire that failed had been previously recalled.
The case was brought by Jeff Salliotte, in his capacity as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Michalanne Salliotte. Michalanne was unbelted and ejected from the van, and suffered fatal injuries as a result. She left behind four children in addition to her husband Jeff.
The Plaintiff was represented by Rich Newsome and Frank Melton of Newsome Melton, PA, and Christine Spagnoli of Greene Broilet & Wheeler, LLP.
With respect to Ford, the Plaintiff successfully argued that the van’s seatbelts were defectively designed because they could fall between or below the seats, making them inaccessible to a seated passenger. The Plaintiff also successfully argued that the van was defectively designed from a handling standpoint because it had a rear-wheel bustleback, rather than a dually design.
The Plaintiff also successfully argued that the Church was negligent in failing to look for and pull the seatbelts up on top of the seats to ensure they were accessible to passengers.
The Jury found that the E350 Van was placed on the market with defective seatbelts and with a defective rear-wheel bustleback design. The Jury also found that the Church was negligent.
This past session, the Florida Legislature passed, and the Governor promptly signed into law, House Bill 221. This bill constitutes a statewide overhaul of the laws governing transportation network companies (“TNCs”) like Uber and Lyft. Unfortunately, the legislation has horrible ramifications for consumers who are injured by a TNC driver, as it effectively eliminates certain […] Read more
Alleged Valve Stem Defect Leads to Class Action Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler Seven consumers from four states (NY, NJ, OH, MI) have collectively filed a putative class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) over an alleged defect in some of their vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The suit, filed in the United States […] Read more
25 years ago litigation involving exploding BIC lighters was fought against BIC by consumer justice lawyers across the country. The BIC lighters, which were alleged to randomly explode, were the subject of numerous cases where children and consumers were horribly burned. The litigation was particularly ugly, with brutal discovery fights and allegations of discovery abuse. […] Read more
In a year that has featured reports of automobile recalls for a variety of reasons, ranging from defective airbags to engine fires, it is important to remind consumers that the size of a recall doesn’t always define the severity. Read more
With national gas prices reaching an average of $3.75 for regular and $4.04 for premium, Americans would certainly favor any relief that they can get at the pump. Read more
The Wall Street Journal recently announced the recall of several all-wheel-drive 2011 BMW 328i and 335i sport sedans due to a potential issue with the vehicles’ front driveshaft bolts. According to the news source, this recall involves about 190 vehicles with BMW’s xdrive all-wheel-drive system. These vehicles were manufactured from February to July 2011, the Wall Street Journal reports. Read more
A recent Consumer Reports notice explained that “Chrysler is recalling 667 model-year 2012 vehicles because debris inside the engine block could cause connecting rod bearing failure, which can lead to engine seizure and thereby increase the risk of a crash.” According to this recall report, every vehicle involved in this recall comes with a 3.6L engine.
The vehicle models included in this recall are the following:
Chrysler Town and Country
Dodge Grand Caravan
Dodge Journey Read more
USA Today reports that due to a steering problem, Toyota Motors is recalling about 550,000 of its vehicles worldwide. “The defect involves the crankshaft pulley on V-6 Toyota- and Lexus-brand vehicles — four-cylinder models are not affected,” the news source reports. Of the 550,000 vehicles recalled, 420,000 are in the U.S.
According to USA Today, the auto maker claims that it has received 79 reports of this defect “dating back to 2007.” However, the company did explain that no related injuries or accidents have been reported. Read more