Fiat Chrysler Appealing Negligence Verdict in Jeep Fire Case

Remington Walden
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By: Associated Press
August 11, 2015

DETROIT (AP) -- Fiat Chrysler is appealing a Georgia court's order to pay $40 million to the family of a child who died in a Jeep fire.

Earlier this spring, a 12-person jury found Fiat Chrysler negligent and awarded $150 million in damages to the family of 4-year-old Remington Walden. Walden died in 2012 after a Jeep Grand Cherokee he was riding in was hit from behind and burst into flames.

Last month, Decatur County Superior Court Judge J. Kevin Chason reduced the damages to $40 million but rejected Fiat Chrysler's request for a new trial.

Fiat Chrysler said Tuesday that the lower damages don't undo the many errors in the trial. The case now heads to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

By: Associated Press
July 29, 2015

DETROIT (AP) -- A Georgia judge has cut the damages that Fiat Chrysler must pay the family of a child who died in a Jeep SUV fire from $150 million to $40 million.

Superior Court Judge J. Kevin Chason also denied Fiat Chrysler's motion for a new trial, dismissing arguments that jurors acted irrationally.

Chason ruled that the family of 4-year-old Remington Walden should get $30 million for his death and $10 million for pain and suffering. The ruling was accepted by the family's attorneys and clears the way for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to appeal. A message was left seeking comment from the company.

Walden died after the Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his aunt in Bainbridge, Ga., was hit from behind in March 2012 and exploded.

UPDATE: Associated Press
July 14, 2015

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) -- A judge will await more details from attorneys before deciding on a motion to dismiss a $150 million judgment that found Fiat Chrysler Automobiles responsible for the faulty placement of a gas tank that led to the death of a 4-year-old boy.

Chrysler attorneys asked Judge Kevin Chason on Tuesday to dismiss a jury's April verdict altogether or reduce the damages to a total of $5 million: $4 million for a wrongful death and $1 million for pain and suffering. The jury called for $120 million for wrongful death and $30 million in pain and suffering.

Chrysler called the judgment tainted and excessive.

An attorney for the parents of the victim, Remington Walden, said $40 million for the wrongful death and $10 million for pain and suffering would be fair.

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 3, 2015

A jury says Chrysler is responsible for the death of Remington Waldon.

The four-year-old -- nicknamed, Remi -- died in 2012. He was riding in the back of a 1999 Jeep Cherokee when it was rear-ended, then caught on fire in Bainbridge.

Waylon Day is an associate pastor and youth pastor at Bainbridge Church of God. He knew Remi and his family well. He says, "It was very, very tragic and it just shook our whole community. It was just a very, very rough thing to deal with at the time."

Chrysler is now ordered to pay $150 million.

The Grand Cherokee that Remington was in had a rear gas tank, only 11 inches from the back of the car and hanging 6 inches below the bottom of the car.

During the nine-day trial, the family attorney said had that tank not exploded, Remi wouldn't have died.

Bainbridge resident Margaret Cobach says, "I think Chrysler or Ford or Mercury or whatever ought to pay if there's a default."

The crash happened on Hubert Dollar Road. Remington's aunt was driving him to tennis lessons. They were almost there.

"He's missed greatly. It's hard to understand why things happen to young kids." Says, Pastor Day.

Attorneys for Chrysler argued that Remington died after a high speed collision, in excess of federally mandated safety protections.

The following is a statement released by Chrysler:

"FCA US is disappointed and will consider an appeal of this verdict. It is unfortunate that under Georgia Law the jury was prevented from taking into account extensive data submitted to NHTSA during a three year investigation, which included more than 20 years of rear impact accident data for tens of millions of vehicles. This and other information provided the basis for NHTSA’s determination that the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee did not pose an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety."

By: Associated Press
April 2, 2015

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) -- A jury in Georgia has awarded $150 million to the family of a 4-year-old boy killed when a Jeep Grand Cherokee caught fire after a crash.

Jurors in Decatur County ruled Thursday that Chrysler acted with reckless disregard for human life in selling the boy's family a 1999 Jeep with a gas tank mounted behind the rear axle.

Remington Walden, of Bainbridge, Georgia, was killed when the Jeep driven by his aunt was hit from behind by a pickup truck in March 2012. The fuel tank leaked, engulfing the Jeep in flames and killing the boy.

Jurors ruled that Chrysler was 99 percent at fault for the crash and the pickup driver was 1 percent at fault.

Chrysler maintains the Jeeps are not defective and says it will appeal.

By: Associated Press
March 25, 2015

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) -- Opening statements have started in the trial of an automaker accused of being responsible for the death of a 4-year-old boy in a March 2012 SUV explosion.

Attorney Jim Butler said in Decatur County Court on Tuesday that the design of the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Remington Walden was riding in was to blame for his death. His family's car was rear ended and burst into flames. The family blames the placement of the gas tank.

The family's suit seeks undisclosed damages, litigation expenses, pain and suffering and more. The trial resumes Wednesday with a deposition from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Chicago attorney Brian Bell represents the automaker and said that an autopsy shows Walden died from a traumatic head injury in the crash, not the fire.

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