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Unanimous Defense Verdict for Takata, Michelin in $80M Rollover Crash Suit

St. Lucie County, FL
Aug 25, 2016

Dukes v. Michelin North America Inc. and Takata Corp.

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 unanimous defense verdict was returned by a Florida jury in favor of Takata Corp., TK Holdings, Inc., and Michelin North America Inc. on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 after a two-month, $80M trial involving allegations of tire and seat belt defects.

In Dukes v. Michelin North America Inc. and Takata Corp., et al., the jury found that plaintiff and co-plaintiff were not wearing seat belts at the time of a 2009 rollover crash of a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer, which resulted in catastrophic injuries to both ejected plaintiffs, including brain injury and paralysis. The jury also rejected all of Plaintiffs' claims of defects related to the right rear tire.

Tom Branigan, Bowman and Brooke Managing Partner and lead trial counsel for the Takata Defendants, called this "a very important defense verdict for the auto industry," and also told Law360 that Takata relied on the physical evidence to show the Takata AB buckle at issue in the suit was not defective.

“It does not unlatch as plaintiffs claim,” he said. “The buckle is well built and not defective. If people are ejected from motor vehicles, 99 times out of a 100 it’s because they weren’t wearing a seat belt. Seat belts work when you wear them, and you should wear them.”

Read all of Tom's comments and more in Law360's coverage of the trial.

The Plaintiffs are represented by Christian Searcy, Darryl Lewis and Michael Kugler of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA and Henry Didier and Mitchell Chubb of Didier Law Firm PA.

The Takata Defendants are represented by Tom Branigan, Jeffrey T. Gorcyca and Carmen Bickerdt of Bowman and Brooke LLP, Christine Davis Graves of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt PA, and Brian Baggot and Samantha Culp of Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell PA. Michelin is represented by Michael O’Donnell, Ed Stewart and Theresa Wardon of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP and Michael Wiggins and Michael Correnti of McDonald Toole Wiggins PA.

The case is Dukes v. Michelin North America Inc. and Takata Corp., et al., case number 56 2012 CA 002094 in the Circuit Court of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit in and for St. Lucie County, Florida.

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