Plaintiff v. Defendant Automobile Manufacturer

  • Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Queens12/02/2004
    Counsel: John J. Duffy
    Client: Defendant Automobile Manufacturer
    Outcome: Defense Verdict, Court dismissed the punitive damages claim.


Plaintiffs claimed multiple severe injuries and a death after their vehicle "suddenly accelerated" due to the presence of "electromagnetic interference" which corrupted the vehicle’s cruise control system.

The vehicle allegedly took off over a lawn, off the curb onto the street and proceeded for approximately six hundred feet before it jumped another curb, went through an iron fence and came to rest after striking a tree.

The defense argued that there was absolutely no scientific support for the plaintiff’s theory of defect and that the physical evidence (which included marks on the back of the accelerator pedal, knee imprints in the bolster above the accelerator and the injuries sustained to the driver) were consistent with the driver being on the accelerator pedal at the time of impact.

Plaintiffs asked for compensatory and punitive damages, the latter of which was dismissed at the close of plaintiff’s case.

The jury then returned a defense verdict as to compensatory damages.