$55 Million Verdict Secured Against Honda
April 26, 2017—The Pennsylvania Superior Court has affirmed a record-setting $55 million jury verdict against Honda Motor Company from a product liability lawsuit involving a seatbelt defect. The plaintiff in the case, Carlos Martinez, is represented by Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck attorneys Stewart Eisenberg and Daniel J. Sherry Jr.
Honda appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court after the verdict and contended there should be a new trial for a number of reasons. Honda claimed that the trial court should have allowed Honda to present evidence that the 1999 Acura Integra complied with industry and federal standards. However, the Superior Court rejected that argument, agreeing with the trial court that the evidence was inadmissible. The Superior Court also determined that the trial court properly charged the jury in light of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling in Tincher v. Omega Flex. The Superior Court rejected Honda’s contention that the jury was improperly instructed on the correct legal standards pertaining to warnings, and refused Honda’s request to reduce the amount of the jury’s verdict.
The $55 million verdict against Honda determined that the seatbelt installed in the 1999 Acura Integra was defectively designed and caused Martinez to strike his head on the vehicle’s roof during a low-speed rollover, which caused Martinez to become a motorized wheelchair dependent quadriplegic.
The jury also determined that Honda failed to adequately warn Martinez of the dangers associated with the seatbelt, given that Honda knew, since 1993, that that seatbelt would not protect occupants of the Integra in the event of a rollover.