Philadelphia Judge Rejects Honda’s Appeal in $55.3 Million Verdict

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Helen Jones
Executive Vice President 

Philadelphia Judge Shelly New upheld a $55.3 million verdict against motor giant Honda on appeal on September 17. The appeal was a response to a June 2014 jury award to Carlos Martinez and his wife after Martinez’s 1999 Acura blew out two tires and rolled over multiple times. The resulting injuries rendered Mr. Martinez a quadriplegic. The jury found the seat belt in Martinez’s car was defectively designed, and that Honda failed to warn consumers of the risk. Accordingly, the jury awarded Martinez $25 million for past and future noneconomic damages, $15 million to his wife for loss of consortium, $14.6 million for future medical expenses and $720,000 for past and future lost earnings.

Honda appealed the 2014 verdict and raised 25 different issues. This included issues regarding denial of presenting evidence of the faulty seatbelt, claims that the trial judge should have let Honda motion for a judgment notwithstanding the jury, and general claims of trial error. However, Judge New rejected Honda’s argument and upheld Martinez’s 2014 verdict.

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