Mont. Jury Awards Nearly $6.7 Million in Car Seat Suit

July 27, 2007

A jury this week ordered car seat maker Evenflo Co. to pay nearly $6.7 million to the parents of a 4-month-old Montana boy who died of head injuries in a July 2000 crash.

The 12-member district court jury decided Evenflo should pay Chad and Jessica Malcolm $5.5 million for grief and mental anguish, $1.18 million for future economic losses for their son, Tyler, and nearly $16,500 for medical and funeral expenses.

Neither side commented after Wednesday’s announcement because jurors were to consider punitive damages Thursday.

Tyler was killed after striking his head on his “On My Way” car seat’s plastic shell after it was ejected from the vehicle during a rollover crash, the Malcolms’ attorney, Evan Douthit, argued during opening statements last month. He said Evenflo considered lining the seat with foam but decided against it, placing company profits over safety concerns.

Evenflo attorney Earl Gunn argued the seat was safe and that Tyler suffered the head injury when the door next to him opened and his head struck the ground during the rollover.

A North Glastonbury man, Ned Harris, was convicted of negligent homicide in Tyler’s death and given a six-year deferred sentence, according to the state Department of Correction’s Web page. Prosecutors said Harris made a bad pass into oncoming traffic on U.S. 89, causing Jessica Malcolm to swerve to avoid Harris’ pickup, leading to the deadly crash.

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