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From Products Liability Law Daily, April 10, 2014

Motorist files products liability claims against Chrysler for defective fuel tank

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

A driver who sustained serious burns in an automobile accident filed a products liability action against the manufacturer of the vehicle, alleging claims for defective design and negligence (Edney v. Chrysler Group, LLC, April 9, 2014).

Background. Erin Edney was burned severely when her 2011 Dodge Durango ran over a piece of metal road debris, which struck and penetrated the vehicle’s fuel tank. The fuel spilling from the tank ignited, engulfing the vehicle in flames.

General allegations. According to the complaint, the vehicle was not equipped with a fuel tank skid tank or other method to protect the fuel tank from undercarriage strikes. Instead, the manufacturer offered an optional fuel tank skid plate. Therefore, the fuel system was unreasonably dangerous and defectively designed because it did not provide adequate protection for the fuel tank in the event of undercarriage strikes. The driver also alleged that at the time the fuel system and the vehicle left the manufacturer’s control, there were economically and technologically feasible safer alternative designs available and that use of an alternative design would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of injury.

In her negligence claim, the driver alleged that the manufacturer breached its duty of care (1) by manufacturing the fuel system and vehicle without adequate protection for the fuel tank; (2) by failing to implement safer, alternative designs which would have prevented the hazard that occurred in this case; and (3) by negligently designing the vehicle’s fuel storage system. The complaint further alleged that Ford knowingly failed to adequately test the vehicle before and during its design, production, and sale and/or knowingly placed a dangerously designed vehicle into the stream of commerce.

Remedies sought. The driver sought compensatory damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, pecuniary loss, lost earnings, and incurred medical expenses along with damages she might suffer in the future that were associated with her injuries.

The case number is 2:14-cv-00306.

Attorneys: Jeffrey T. Embry (Hossley & Embry) for Erin Edney.

Companies: Chrysler Group, LLC

MainStory: TopStory IndustryNewsStory DesignManufacturingNews MotorVehiclesNews TexasNews

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