Honda Wins Trial Over Allegedly Defective Seatbelt
Apr 30, 2009
An Amarillo, Texas jury found in favor of Honda in a lawsuit alleging defectively designed seatbelts in Honda automobiles. Tracy Price suffered paralyzing injuries when she was ejected from her Honda Civic during a single-vehicle rollover accident in August 2004. She alleged she was wearing her seatbelt, but that due to a design defect which allowed the buckle to be partially engaged and not fully latched, she was not restrained by the belt and ejected during the accident. With just three hours of deliberations, the jury disagreed. Ms. Price's attorney, New Mexico lawyer James Lyle, had asked the jury to award up to $30 million in damages, and to also award punitive damages against Honda. Based on the jury's verdict, United States District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson entered a judgment dismissing Ms. Price's claims.
The lawsuit was originally filed in a federal court in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Honda's attorneys, the San Antonio firm of Prichard, Hawkins, McFarland & Young, convinced the federal judge in Albuquerque to transfer the case to the Northern District of Texas, and that Texas law should apply to the trial. Honda was represented at trial by Jeff Hawkins and Grant McFarland.