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Croskey v. BMW

Michigan
Feb 23, 2006

Croskey v. BMW

CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE.

Detroit jury agrees BMW not liable for lower extremity burns

DETROIT, MI - A unanimous Federal Court jury agreed that BMW NA and BMW AG and its 1992 325i did not have a design defect in the radiator, that there was not a failure to warn and BMW was not responsible for burns to William Croskey. Croskey claimed a design defect caused the radiator to explode and spray boiling hot coolant on his lower extremities causing severe burns and permanent impotence.

The 8-person jury (four men and four women) deliberated for nearly three hours, before rendering their unanimous defense verdict on Friday, February 3, 2006. Plaintiff Croskey had asked the jury to award him $25 million.

The three-year-old case began its first week of trial with a mistrial because of legal issues.

36-year old Croskey alleged the incident occurred on July 5, 2000 in his driveway in Pontiac, Michigan. At the time of the incident, Croskey was attempting to add coolant to the car while the engine was still running. While the hood was open, Croskey stood in front of the engine and leaned over the radiator. It was at that moment that he claimed the radiator neck burst allowing boiling hot coolant to spray him from abdomen to upper thigh. Croskey and his counsel claimed that 1000s of other BMW cars have the same design defect in their radiator water tanks because they were constructed from a plastic material known as PA 6.6 GF 30 HR (a/k/a "Ultramid"). BMW defended the case by proving that the radiator design was state of the art, reasonably safe and used by many other OEMs. BMW also proved that Croskey’s BMW had a long history of cooling system problems including several prior over heat situations and that this incident occurred because Croskey failed to follow the instructions and warnings provided with the car through the owners' manual.

Case name: Willie Croskey v. BMW North America and BMW AG

Case number:  02-73747

Judge's name:  Nancy G. Edmunds

Attorneys for Defense: Tom Branigan, Partner,  and Jeffrey Gorcyca, Partner, of the Detroit office of Bowman and Brooke LLP.

Attorneys for Plaintiff: Marc Lipton and Jody Lipton, Southfield, Michigan, and David K. Schneider, San Diego, California.

Experts testifying for Defense: Peter Bauer - Automotive Engineer for BMW (BMW NA) Montvale, NJ; Günter Tengler - Automotive Engineer for BMW (BMW AG) Munich, Germany; Axel Temmesfeld - Chief Design Engineer for BMW (BMW AG) Munich, Germany; Sandy Yangoyian Manoogian - Vocational Rehabilitation - Birmingham, MI; Dr. David Jackson, MD - Physiatry - Southfield, MI; Dr. Timothy McHugh, MD - Urology - Ypsilanti, MI; Dr. Elissa Benedek, MD Ph D - Psychiatry - Ann Arbor, MI; and Dr. Paul Taheri, MD - Trauma Burn - Ann Arbor, MI

Experts testifying for Plaintiff: Dr. Anand Kasbekar, Ph D - Material and Design Expert, Failure to Warn - Raleigh, NC; Dr. Charles Keoleian, MD - Urology - Southfield, MI; Dr. Robert Krasnick, MD - Physiatrist - Warren, MI; Dr. Howard Korman, MD – Urology - Royal Oak, MI; Dr. Steven Frank, Ph D - Psychologist - Dearborn, MI; Dr. Robert Ancell, Ph D - Vocational Rehabilitation - Southfield, MI; Dr. Earle Spohn, DO - General surgeon - Troy, MI; and Dr. Shiener, MD - Psychiatrist - Birmingham, MI

Trial Team

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