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Indiana Jury Says BMW Mini Cooper Not Defective

Indianapolis, IN
Nov 15, 2017

Ruddell Brown 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.
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A Southern District of Indiana jury returned a full defense verdict in favor of BMW of North America (BMW NA) on October 23, 2017 finding no defect in its 2007 Mini Cooper, Ruddell Brown v. BMW.  In this seven-day trial, plaintiff claimed her vehicle was defective due to lack of rollover sensors causing her catastrophic injuries (incomplete quadriplegia) from a rollover crash at highway speed in southern Indiana in September 2012.  

78-year old plaintiff Marsha Ruddell Brown alleged, although belted, she was partially ejected through the driver’s door window due to a lack of roof rail airbags that would have initiated in a rollover.  These sensors were first in vehicles in 2002 and are now a FMVSS requirement on all light vehicles sold in the United States as of September 1, 2017.

BMW NA proved that the Mini was not defective, that over 90 percent of passenger cars built in model year 2007 did not have rollover sensors that would activate airbags during an accident and that even had this technology been on the Plaintiff’s Mini Cooper it would not have prevented her injury because she was not ejected from the vehicle.

Plaintiff asked the jury for $3 million. 

BMW was represented by Tom Branigan, Managing Partner of Bowman and Brooke’s Detroit office, Jeffrey Gorcyca, Co-Managing Partner and John Black, Associate also of Bowman and Brooke’s Detroit office, and Kevin Schiferl of Frost Brown in Indianapolis, IN.  

Plaintiff Ruddell Brown was represented by David Scott of Dave Scott PLC in Louisville, KY.

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