Wife files wrongful death suit against Chrysler after husband hits a tree

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 17, 2007, 9:45am

2006 Dodge Laramie

MARSHALL -- Robert Leaks was driving his Dodge pickup north of Lakeport Texas, when he lost control. The truck slammed into a tree causing Leaks to suffer fatal injuries.

Although Leaks was wearing his seatbelt, Willie Mae Leaks believes her husband's death was a result of the Chrysler-made truck not providing adequate protection.

The family states the unreasonably dangerous 2006 Dodge Laramie pickup truck "was not reasonably fit for unintended, but clearly foreseeable, accidents."

Willie Mae Leaks, individually and as estate representative, filed the crashworthiness suit against Chrysler on Sept. 14 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Leaks claims her husband's death is due to the vehicle's failure to maintain survival space and not providing adequate restraint with "side airbags, side head curtains or any side impact SRS." Moreover, the lawsuit asserts Chrysler is liable through its failure to use "technology to minimize loss of structural integrity" and failure to conduct side impact and pole impact side testing.

On behalf of the deceased, the lawsuit seeks damages for medical, funeral, and burial expenses, physical pain, torment, mental anguish, emotional pain, and distress. The Leaks' estate is seeking damages for mental anguish, loss of care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel, companionship, society, and consortium and contributions of a pecuniary value.

Chrysler admits its vehicles may be involved in accidents but in its Original Answer filed on Oct. 9, it denies all further allegations asserted by the plaintiff. Chrysler states that at the time of the truck's manufacture it was in full compliance with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. In addition, Chrysler believes Robert Leaks' injuries are due to either his own or someone else's conduct and negligence.

Chrysler is demanding a trial by jury.

Representing the plaintiff is Dallas attorneys E. Todd Tracy and Andrew Counts of The Tracy Firm.

The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge John T. Ward.

Case No.: 2:07cv404

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