A Georgia state judge recently decided to slash an award against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from $150 million to $40 million in a high profile case involving a Jeep fiery crash.
The award for the family of a young boy that was burned to death when the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was riding in was struck from behind and caught fire, showed new orders released on Tuesday. Judge J. Kevin Chason in Decatur County decided the family of Remington Walden will be awarded $30 million for his wrongful death and another $10 million for pain and suffering. He also vetoed a motion from FCA, the vehicle’s producer, for another trial, as he believed the evidence from the almost two-week trial earlier this year to be “overwhelming.” The company didn’t settle into the reduced verdict and a company spokesperson said the automaker was mulling additional legal options. The orders released hinted the plaintiffs’ lawyers were positive about the slashed verdict.
FCA US, the company that was formerly known as Chrysler Group LLC and is now a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, had been seeking a tossed verdict, claiming jurors were acting irrationally and became biased against the company. The young boy was killed because the Jeep he was in had been rear-ended, with the fuel tank rupture degenerating into a fire. The plaintiffs said during the trial in April the placement of the fuel tank – very close to the back of the SUV – created the “perfect” conditions for such occurrences.