Lawyers from five different law firms united to successfully represent three plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Nissan, blaming faulty brakes for a car crash that killed three people in 2012. A Los Angeles jury returned a $25 million verdict for Hilario Cruz and Araceli Mendez, the family members of three deceased victims, and Solomon Mathenge, the driver whose Infinity QX56’s faulty brakes led to their accidental killing.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs were: F. Jerome Tapley, Ryan Lutz, Brett Turnbull and Adam Pittman of Cory Watson. P.C.; Paul Kiesel, Steven Archer and Bryan Garcia of Kiesel Law LLP; Kirk Wolden of Carter Wolden; and solo practitioners Claudia C. Bohorquez and Vicki I. Sarmiento.
The legal team charged that Nissan knew about a software problem affecting the driver’s brakes, but failed to announce it and recall the vehicles. The complaint charged that,“Rather than disclose this critical safety defect and recall the defective vehicles as it should have done, Nissan made a conscious decision to ignore the problem at the expense of the safety of its customers, those operating the defective vehicles, and the public at large.”
“We hope this verdict will inspire Nissan to step up and take responsibility for the safety of their vehicles so that no one else is killed or injured because of a product defect Nissan failed to reveal and recall,” said Cory Watson attorney Jerome Tapley.
The jury rejected Nissan’s argument that Mathenge’s driving was the sole cause of the accident. Mathenge was once the target of a criminal prosecution and wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by the victims’ family, but the legal landscape changed when an investigation revealed the brake failure claim wasn’t the first involving a similar class of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. In Banks v. Nissan, Nissan settled a class action involving claims concerning the same brake defect in 2014, offering up to $800 in compensation to the owners of more than 250,000 Nissan-built Armadas, Titans and Infiniti QX56 models.
The case is Cruz v. Nissan North America, Inc., et al., case number BC493949, in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County.