Securing defense victory in high-profile $25 million wrongful death suit.
Following a week-long trial, a twelve-person Crenshaw County jury returned a verdict for our client, a leading automaker, in a wrongful death case. The case was filed by the estate of a woman who died as a result of injuries suffered in an accident. She was driving a car manufactured by our client. Plaintiffs' counsel argued that the seat belt system in the car was defective. The vehicle was equipped with an automatic shoulder belt and manual lap belt, and the plaintiff alleged that due to poor belt fit and a failure of the lap belt in the wreck, the woman suffered a lacerated liver caused by the shoulder belt. At trial, Lightfoot and co-counsel showed that the seat belt system exceeded all of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and had, in fact, been awarded five stars - the highest safety rating possible - in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The car's belt, we argued, performed as designed in the accident. The trial was one of the largest product liability cases to be tried in Crenshaw County in many years against one of the most prominent plaintiffs' attorneys in the state. Plaintiffs asked the jury for $25 million in damages to punish our client for a design which, they argued, it knew was defective and unreasonably dangerous. The jury returned its verdict in favor of our client after 50 minutes of deliberations.