A federal court jury in Marshall County, Texas, returned a verdict last month against Honeywell International, Inc. The $24 million verdict was awarded to the estate of a young woman who was killed just one day short of beginning her freshman year at Baylor University. On November 18, 2004 the female passenger was ejected from a Chevrolet Tahoe after her seat belt failed to hold. The driver of the other vehicle was a high school student, who pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter charges and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The passenger, who was ejected and killed, was sitting behind the driver in the Tahoe, wearing her JDC seat belt buckle when the other vehicle struck the Tahoe in the left front. The two vehicles “side slapped” and the Tahoe rolled over once. The defective buckle unlatched and the young woman was ejected when the Tahoe rolled over. The jury found that a seat belt made by Honeywell International, Inc. was defective. They attributed 5% of the fault to General Motors and 95% to Honeywell. The jury awarded the parents $2 million each for past mental anguish, $4 million each for future mental anguish, $2 million each for loss of past companionship, and $4 million each for loss of future companionship.
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