GALVESTON - Insisting it did not design, manufacture or test the vehicle, Chrysler Group LLC issued a formal rebuttal to a recent lawsuit that claimed a manufacturing defect resulted in a fatal single-vehicle accident in March 2012.
Chrysler's original answer, filed Dec. 30, denies the allegations detailed in Jennifer and Michael Kirst's wrongful death suit, stating DaimlerChrysler Corp., the company's predecessor, "had overall responsibility for the design, manufacture and testing of the 2005 Dodge Durango."
As previously reported, the Kirsts' suit asserts that in March 2012 the family was in a crash on Interstate 45 S., allegedly caused when the Durango's left rear tire “delaminated, causing the vehicle to roll.”
Driver Jennifer Kirst and passenger David Kirst were injured while passenger Gabriell Kirst died from injuries she sustained when she was ejected from the vehicle.
According to the suit, the Kirst's purchased the Durango a month before from an individual named Juan G. Contreras, doing business as Laredo Auto Sales.
The suit contends the Durango “lacked adequate crashworthiness protection, including but not limited to adequate airbag protection, adequate seat belt restraint systems, rollover occupant protection system and an electronic stability control system.”
Chrysler, meanwhile, states it assumed "responsibility for defending products designed and manufactured by the entity formerly known as Chrysler LLC for accidents and incidents occurring after June 10, 2009," but it did not assume "liability for negligence-related causes of action."
Chrysler's five-page rebuttal asserts the Durango "is a safe and crashworthy vehicle that complied with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in effect at the time of manufacture."
Attorney Chris Pearson of Germer Beaman & Brown PLLC in Austin is representing Chrysler.
Case No. 13-CV-1507