Readers might remember the Mraz case, where a driver was run over by his own truck because he failed to engage the parking brake, and a jury nevertheless awarded $55 million. (March 8 and March 21, 2007.)
The Chrysler bankruptcy threw a wrench into the appellate process. Given the number of unsecured (and secured!) creditors who were taking a haircut on what Chrysler owed them, and the weakness of the case, one would expect the claim to be extinguished. But Chrysler unilaterally (and almost certainly politically) decided not to extinguish product-liability lawsuits against it, and the Mraz case has settled for $24 million. (Amanda Bronstad, “Chrysler bankruptcy judge approves $24 million personal injury settlement”, National Law Journal, Sep. 25). Of course, the likely $8-$10 million attorneys’ fee in this case is being funded by taxpayers’ bailout money.