The children of an elderly couple who were killed by a defective Chrysler transmission will have their day in court. On June 17, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court released a decision that reversed a lower court’s ruling that dismissed this wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit. This reversal remanded the case back to the lower court for trial.
In February 2011, a Rose Coats, 75, and her husband, Roy, 83, were killed in their garage when they were both struck by their 2008 Dodge Caravan. The Dodge Caravan was in park and still running when Rose and Roy stepped out of their vehicle. Both were struck by the vehicle, as explained by their children’s personal injury attorney, when the transmission was caught between reverse and park, pinning Rose to the garage door and knocking Roy to the ground. Rose was killed by suffocation while Roy died from a massive heart attack caused by the event.
The children’s personal injury attorney claimed that the Dodge Caravan had a “false park” defect where the gearshift of the automatic transmission stops between the reverse and park. The personal injury attorney for their children also argued that no indication of this false park was made to the driver and the minivan appeared to be motionless. Rose and Roy where killed when the vehicle’s transmission “popped” into reverse argued the personal injury attorney.
The Ninth Circuit’s ruling reversed a dismissal by a lower court stating that “genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether a ‘false park’ defect in the Coats’ minivan caused their deaths.” The court went further to explain that the personal injury attorney’s expert provided testimony that would “allow a reasonable jury to conclude that the ‘false park’ defect was the legal cause of the accident and their deaths.” With the Ninth Circuit’s decision, the Coats children and their personal injury attorney will have the chance to present their case to a jury.
There are still a number of vehicles on the road today with this or a similar defect. Drivers, consumers, and families should be concerned and cautious when purchasing vehicles with this potential defect. Romanow Law Group handles all types of products liability claims. If you believe you have been injured by a defective product, please call us today at (412) 642-9100 to schedule a free consultation or click here to request an evaluation of your claim.