Kreindler & Kreindler partner Noah Kushlefsky, recently obtained an $8.75 million jury verdict against Volvo for its failure to install a starter safety switch in its 1987 model 740 wagon. The starter safety switch is a $5 part that requires that the clutch of a manual transmission car be depressed before the car can be started. The switch prevents a driver from inadvertently starting the car in gear, without the clutch depressed, which can cause the car to "jump" or lurch forward putting bystanders at risk.
The firm's client is a 56-year-old man who was picking up his 7-year-old daughter from a friend's house. The friend's father had recently bought a used Volvo, and was showing the car to the client. The two men were looking under the hood when the owner offered to start the car so they could listen to the engine. The owner reached in the driver's window, started the car and it lurched forward crushing the client's leg between the car and a building. The client suffered a traumatic above-knee amputation of the left leg. After a month-long trial, a Manhattan jury returned an $8.75 million verdict and found Volvo 85% at fault. The verdict includes an award of $2 million for past pain and suffering and $4 million for future pain and suffering.
This case was featured in VerdictSearch's Top NY Verdicts of 2009. Read the pdf.