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DaimlerChrysler Break-Shift Interlock Case Proceeds


David Domina and Claudia Stringfield-Johnson completed preparations for the Court's scheduled January 19, 2006, Pretrial Conference in a major product liability case against DaimlerChrysler Corporation. "Our client's wrongful death claim presents a compelling set of facts making clear DaimlerChrysler's disregard for industry practices and standards, and the need for a critical incremental safety device - the Brake-Shift Interlock," Stringfield-Johnson said.

Domina noted, "We tried in the late 1990s and early in this decade to get DaimlerChrysler to retrofit its fleet of automatic transmission vehicles sold after 1995 without Brake-Shift Interlock. We were unsuccessful. Had we succeeded, our client's death would not have occurred."

A Brake-Shift Interlock is a safety device that prevents one from moving the shift lever in an automatic transmission vehicle out of "park" and into a different position without first depressing the foot brake. The device is intended to prevent unexpected or unwanted acceleration. It is especially effective in preventing inadvertent vehicle movement that might occur when, for example, a child is playing with the steering wheel and the parent is momentarily out of the vehicle.

Domina and Stringfield-Johnson said the discovery against DaimlerChrysler has been "exhaustive." The case has involved dozens of depositions - indeed evidence designations from more than fifty (50) depositions in the pending case in Federal Court in Des Moines, and other cases, have been made by Domina and Stringfield-Johnson as the Plaintiff's lawyers. "We have worked diligently to gather a compelling array of evidence, combed all sources we could find for documents, and tried to overcome what we believe to have been uncooperative discovery responses by the defense," Domina said. "Our efforts have allowed us to put together a remarkable case."

Stringfield-Johnson noted, "The discovery battle in this case led to a requirement the defense formulate discovery verifications that are meaningful, and established proof it conducted an inappropriate search for documents." She continued, "We believe DaimlerChrysler accumulated an array of material not produced, and perhaps not retained, so it would not have to be produced, but we have a strong case nonetheless."

The wrongful death suit which also includes the bystander claims of two (2) members of the descendant's immediate family. The trial is scheduled in Federal Court in Iowa commencing in late January, 2006.

January 12, 2006
David A. Domina

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