$24M verdict against Nissan for brake failure

August 21, 2017

Recent trial outcomes published on Westlaw include a $24M verdict for a fatal motor vehicle collision resulting from defective brakes, a $15M verdict in a suit against Abbott Labs for its drug Depakote, and a defense decision for the University of California Irvine Medical Center after an Iranian student died under the care of defendant physicians. The following are excerpts from the case summaries.  The full summaries, these and other interesting cases can be found in Westlaw Jury Verdicts & Settlements.


CRUZ v. NISSAN NORTH AMERICA INC. This wrongful death action was brought when Saida Bernardino, 27, and two of her minor daughters, 6-year-old Hilda Cruz and 4-year-old Stephanie Cruz, were killed when their minivan was struck broadside by a 2004 Infiniti QX56 vehicle driven by Solomon Mathenge, who reportedly entered the intersection against a red light when his vehicle’s brakes failed; Mathenge reportedly suffered emotional distress and unspecified physical injuries as a result of the incident. Mathenge’s QX56 vehicle was designed and manufactured by defendant Nissan North America Inc., and its defective braking components were reportedly designed, manufactured and installed by defendant Continental Automotive Systems Inc. Trial date: July 21, 2017; Outcome: Plaintiff verdict $24,931,059

E.G., PRO AMI, RAQUEL v. ABBOTT LABORATORIES INC. E.G., a newborn boy, was reportedly born with spina bifida after his mother was prescribed the drug Depakote, manufactured by defendant Abbott Laboratories Inc., for bipolar disorder during her pregnancy.  Trial date: June 9, 2017; Outcome: Plaintiff verdict $15,000,000

TEHRANI, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF MONFARED, ESTATE OF v. THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA D/B/A UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE MEDICAL CENTER This wrongful death action was filed after the death of adult female Pourandokht Monfared, born in Iran and unable to speak English, while under the care and treatment of defendant University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCIMC) and all named defendant physicians after she presented to defendants with diarrhea and subsequently suffered kidney failure, sepsis, aspiration pneumonia and death following several diagnostic tests performed as well as a chest tube insertion. Trial date: March 27, 2017; Outcome: Defense verdict


Case summaries written by Angela Mitchell, Amy Mohberg, and Diana Marcus.