A Settlement, an Award, and a Lawsuit – Aronberg and Aronberg
In this blog, we’re going to let you know about a settlement with a major auto manufacturer, a hefty award granted to a wronged individual, and a new lawsuit that had been filed against the state of Connecticut and was recently dismissed by the plaintiff. These cases discussed in this blog serve as examples of ways in which justice can be served after an injustice has been committed.
Let’s begin with Toyota. As you may or not know, over the last couple of years, Toyota has faced public outrage and litigation following malfunctions in their vehicles that have caused drivers to lose control of their cars and crash. The lawsuit claimed that the problem originated from an issue with Toyota’s electronic throttle-control program. The outpour of anger over the situation, as well as evidence of widespread malfunctioning, has led Toyota to recall many different model vehicles.
In the past few weeks, Toyota settled the pending class-action lawsuit for $1.1 billion. The money will go toward fixing the problems within the vehicles as well as reimbursing customers—up to 16 million of them. While this settlement is newsworthy and noteworthy due to its volume, the process is a fairly common one and the result is not necessarily atypical. The settlement shows that when a company—even a giant corporation such as Toyota—fails to act properly, there are prices to be paid; this time, the price to be paid was $1.1 billion.
Next, we focus on San Diego, CA where a court recently awarded a woman $7.5 million in punitive damages. The $7.5 million punitive award concluded a case that originated from the fact that the woman experienced frostbite to her knee after usage of a cold therapy medical device. Following the suffering of frostbite, a lawsuit was filed on the grounds of product defects and medical malpractice by the doctor that treated the woman with the device that led to frostbite. The doctor, when treating the young woman with the device, failed to alert her of the fact that there have been past issues with the medical device. He also kept secret the fact that he would personally benefit from the patient’s purchase of that particular medical device. The jury awarded the young woman just over $5 million, and assessed 50% liability to the doctor and to the company behind the medical device. As far as the punitive damages are concerned, $7 million is the responsibility of the company behind the device, while the doctor will pay $500,000.
Finally, we move cross-country, back to the state of Connecticut, in which the deadly Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took place. A lawyer, on behalf of a survivor of the shooting attack, has begun the process of suing the state of Connecticut for $100 million. Because Connecticut has immunity from most claims, the lawsuit won’t be able to move forward unless it is granted the ability to do so—and so far it hasn’t been. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the young, unnamed student, claiming that they suffered “emotional and psychological trauma and injury” after hearing shouts, screams and gunfire during the attack. The suit has not been filed against Connecticut Gov. Malloy, but rather against the Board of Education, the Department of Education, and the Education Commissioner of the state. According to the lawsuit, all of these parties are at fault for not protecting the child in question from “foreseeable” harm. This lawsuit, the type of which is not surprising, and its outcome, will play a key role in determining how government agencies will change in the aftermath of the second-deadliest school shooting in US history.
UPDATE: The Connecticut lawsuit has recently been dismissed by the plaintiff with no specific comment on why it was dismissed.
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