Confidential - Multi-million Settlement, Stowers, et al. v. Daimler Chrysler Corp. et al.

Confidential Multi-Million Dollar Settlement
Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pa.
December Term, 1997 - No. 3651.

Stowers, et al. v. Daimler Chrysler Corporation, et al.

On December 31, 1995, Plaintiff-Decedent, Khalif Stowers, was a rear seat passenger in a 1986 Dodge Caravan ("minivan") designed, manufactured and sold by or on behalf of Defendant Daimler Chrylser Corporation. This lawsuit arises following a collision between a tractor-trailer owned by Defendant Traffik Services, Inc. and operated by Defendant Neil Horan, Sr. and the minivan, which was owned and operated by former Defendant Diane Bridges.

Suit was brought against the driver of the tractor-trailer, Defendant Neil Horan, Sr., and his employer, Defendant Traffik Services, Inc. As to Defendant Daimler Chrysler Corporation, Plaintiff claimed that the minivan was not crashworthy. More specifically, with respect to the Defendant's design of the rear liftgate latch and rear seat of the minivan. The rear liftgate opened during the accident scenario, causing Khalif to be ejected onto the highway, where he was immeadiately thereafter run over by an unknown vehicle. There is no claim that Minor Plaintiff-Decedent suffered any conscious pain and suffering as a result of this incident. A large number of pretrial depositions were taken. Trial of this case was expected to last 4-8 weeks. Each side identified over 1,000 exhibits. Plaintiff's Witness List included in excess of 80 witnesses at the time of trial.

As trial approached, approximately twenty-five Motions in Limine were filed. Eighteen of those Motions were argued on the first scheduled day of trial, August 7, 2000. The jury was selected over a two (2) day period on August 8 and 9, 2000. On the fourth day of trial, prior to opening speeches, the Honorable Howland Abrahamson, trial judge, held another settlement conference. Judge Abrahamson made a settlement recommendation which Defendant Daimler Chrysler Corporation agreed to offer, and which Plaintiff agreed to accept, pending Court approval. Additionally, Defendants Neil Horan, Jr. and Traffik Services, Inc. separately reached a settlement agreement with Plaintiff a few days earlier, also pending Court approval.

Result: The aggregate gross settlement is a confidential amount in seven figures.

Plaintiff's Attorney: Stewart J. Eisenberg of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.