Morgan Layne Dize, an incapacitated minor v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation and Cathy Lynn Howell, State Court of Gwinnett County, Georgia (12/6/01)
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 incidents from the real world where occupants located in and behind the minivan's seats were injured or killed when those seats failed in rear impacts. Pursuant to court order, plaintiffs' counsel conducted the first database search in Chrysler history and discovered numerous other incidents of seatback failure and injuries that had been concealed in violation of court order. Because of the concealment of evidence, the trial court found Chrysler in default, struck its answer, and ordered a trial only on the amount of actual and punitive damages. The case settled shortly thereafter.
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