Fiat Chrysler America (FCA US LLC) has appealed a $40 million verdict for the parents of a boy who burned to death in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. That comes despite having won a reduction of a jury’s original $150 million award for the family. A Georgia state judge reduced the amount of the verdict in late July when the parents indicated they would accept a “reasonable” reduction. The company filed its notice of appeal on August 10.
The company was clearly at fault by positioning the 1999 Jeep’s gas tank near its rear axle. The jury’s verdict included the family’s request for $120 million for the full value of 4-year-old Remington Walden’s life and further found that FCA showed a “reckless or wanton disregard for human life” in the design or sale of the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee and failed to warn consumers about the risk. The jurors also awarded the family an additional $30 million for the boy’s pain and suffering. Experts had testified he lived for up to a full minute after the flames reached him. The jurors found that Fiat Chrysler bears 99 percent of the responsibility for the death with the remaining percent falling upon the driver of the car that rear-ended the Jeep.
Fiat Chrysler, as part of the record-setting $105 million settlement, will offer $100 gift cards to owners of unrepaired recalled Jeeps. It will offer them $1,000 incentives to trade them in. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has repeatedly criticized Fiat Chrysler for not doing more to get recalled Jeeps repaired faster.
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