When child ejected in auto collision, mom sues car dealership

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 23, 2009, 6:46pm

MARSHALL-Antonio Harris was driving his 2005 Dodge Truck in Marshall when he lost control, skidded through an intersection and struck several trees. Ultimately, the truck rolled onto its side and came to rest against several trees. The right front passenger, a minor, was severely injured.

Alleging the truck was unreasonably dangerous and defective, Ronita Harris, individually and as next friend to D.R.H. Minor, filed suit against Action Chrysler Jeep Dodge Inc. on Sept. 21 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Contrary to the police report, Harris states the minor was wearing the seatbelt as evidence by blood below the stow point.

Harris alleges that the car dealership is liable "because it marketed and represented that said vehicle was safe, when in fact it was unsafe" and "for allowing a defective and unreasonably dangerous product to enter the stream of commerce."

The lawsuit argues that the truck was unreasonably dangerous because the front door opened during the impact, allowing the driver to become partially ejected and then the buckle unlatched allowing the driver to become fully ejected.

Further, the plaintiff states that the vehicle violated principles of crashworthiness, failed to provide proper restraint, violated the purpose of a seatbelt buckle, and was not tested thoroughly. The complaint also argues that the vehicle did not have adequate engineering analysis conducted and that the front structure and roof was weak and inferior.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for pain and suffering, extreme emotional distress, mental anguish, impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, reduced capacity to enjoy life, interference with daily activities, medical expenses, and diminished earning capacity.

The defendant is a new car dealership located in Jackson, Mississippi.

Dallas attorneys E. Todd Tracy and I. Scott Lidji of the Tracy Firm are representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No 2:09cv00286

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