Skowronski v. Defendant Automobile Manufacturer

  • Illinois Appellate Court, First District04/01/2004
    Client: Defendant Automobile Manufacturer
    Outcome: Defense Verdict; Judgment at Appeals Trial Affirmed in Favor of Defendant

Synopsis:

In the trial, DBMS represented a defendant automobile manufacturer in a case in which the plaintiff claimed that a brake failure on his vehicle caused it to strike a utility pole, and that the driver's airbag was too aggressive, causing him to lose consciousness and become comatose.

Plaintiff contended that the injury left him with long term cognitive and memory deficits, and forced him to quit the practice of dentistry.

The defense contended that plaintiff took a curve too fast, struck the pole, and that someone tampered with the brake system after the accident. In response to plaintiff's contention that the defendant used a de-powered airbag in Australia, and later de-powered its airbags in the United States, the defense proved that there was no reasonable alternative to the vehicle's airbag given the current year's airbag requirements by the federal government.

The plaintiff sought $6.7 million, but the jury returned a defense verdict, finding no defects in the vehicle and that plaintiff's driving conduct was the sole proximate cause of the accident.

DBMS also represented the defendant on appeal. The Appellate Court affirmed, finding in favor of the defense on all evidentiary issues, including the defendant's later de-powering of airbags in the United States was inadmissible as subsequent remedial measures evidence. The Appellate Court further upheld the use of five special interrogatories to the jury and found that the verdict was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.

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