High Court Upholds $13M Judgment Against Chrysler

May 27, 2009

The Supreme Court has rejected a request from Chrysler to overturn a $13 million punitive damages award to the parents of an 8-month-old boy who died in the crash of a Dodge Caravan.

The justices without comment Tuesday left in place a ruling by the Tennessee Court upholding the damages against Chrysler LLC.

The lawsuit claimed 8-month-old Joshua Flax was riding in the back seat of a 1998 Dodge Caravan in Nashville, Tenn., in 2001 when the vehicle was rear-ended, causing the front passenger seat to collapse and the passenger to strike him, fracturing his skull.

A jury initially awarded Flax’s parents $98 million in punitive damages in 2004, but the damages were later reduced. The family was also awarded $5 million in compensatory damages, which were upheld by an appeals court.

The third-largest U.S. automaker filed for bankruptcy protection in April.

The case is DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Flax, 08-1010.

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