Recently, a jury in Chalmette, Louisiana, returned a verdict in a case involving the death of an unborn baby who was fatally injured when the family’s 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee went from park to reverse, pinning the mother against a brick carport column. The jury awarded nearly $2.8 million to Judi Guillot, the baby’s mother, $2.1 million to the father, $80,000 to the two together, and $125,000 to Madison Guillot, the couple’s daughter who wasthree3 years old at the time and who witnessed the accident from her car seat.
Judi Guillot was on her way to a hospital to give birth in May 1999. As she and her husband were about to leave their home, Mrs. Guillot stepped out to retrieve her young daughter’s song book. Her husband got out to get his cell phone from the SUV’s hatchback. As he approached the rear, the SUV began rolling backward and pinned his wife. The Cherokee was in park, according to trial testimony, but spontaneously shifted into reverse. The baby, Collin Jacob, was delivered alive, but died 2 1/2 weeks later. Doctors attributed the death to brain injuries sustained when the Cherokee pinned the mother. The carmaker blamed the father saying he left the car in reverse when he went to retrieve his cell phone. There was some controversy over this issue.
As you may know, Chrysler recalled 1.6 million 1993-1998 model Grand Cherokees after complaints that the vehicles could shift suddenly from park to reverse. However, the company says neither its own investigation nor one by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found any defect. The Guillots’ SUV was a 1999 model, not part of the recall. But the jury found its design was unreasonably dangerous. The family said they wanted to hold the company accountable. Chrysler says it will appeal.
Source: Associated Press
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.