The state supreme court heard arguments in a high profile 2012 case involving the death of a 4-year-old Bainbridge boy on Tuesday.
Chrysler is appealing a multi-million dollar verdict against it in a lawsuit brought by the parents of Remington 'Remi' Walden who was burned to death in a Jeep that was hit from the rear in 2012.
James Bryan Walden and Lindsay Newsome Strickland are Remington's parents.
Emily Newsome was driving her nephew, Remington, to a tennis lesson in Bainbridge in her father’s Grand Cherokee.
As Newsome was waiting to make a left-hand turn on Old Quincy Highway, Bryan Harrell, who was driving a Dodge Dakota pickup truck, plowed into the back of the Cherokee. The Jeep’s fuel tank, which was located behind the rear axle, was ruptured in the collision.
A jury found that Harrell was 1% at fault in the boy's death and that Chrysler was 99% at fault for the design of the Cherokee, which had the gas tank installed behind the rear axle of the vehicle. Attorneys argue that Chrysler discussed the same problem that Ford had with its Pinto in the 1970s, and knew the design was a problem.
The jury awarded Remington's parents $120 million in wrongful death damages and $30 million in pain and suffering damages.
Now, Chrysler's attorneys are arguing the jury used the CEO's compensation as a basis for calculating the wrongful death award. The CEO at that time earned $68 million a year.
"FCA welcomes the decision by the Georgia Supreme Court to hear this argument. The court was fully engaged and we are pleased with that and we are going to await the outcome," said Media Relations Manager Eric Mayne.
The attorney argued that the wrongful death award is a higher value than any other appeal like it.
The family's attorney argued the court allowed the evidence of the CEO's compensation then and it should still stand now.
The attorneys for Chrysler are Thomas Dupree, Jr., Rajiv Mohan, Bruce Kirbo, Jr., M. Diane Owens, Terry Brantley, and Bradley Wolff.
The attorneys for Walden and Strickland are James Butler, Jr., David Rohwedder, James Butler, III, George Floyd, Michael Terry, and L. Catharine Cox.
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