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Mini- Van Seat Belt Failure Serious Injury Settlement

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November 08, 1999
Cite this Page: 12 N.C.L.W. 0973

Verdicts & Settlements
Products Liability

Mini- Van Seat Belt Failure Serious Injury Settlement

Brief Statement of Claim: On Aug. 30, 1996 at approximately 4:45 p.m., Ms. Clyde Farmer Delp was riding as a passenger in a 1992 Dodge Caravan owned by the New River Board of Mental Health. She was seated on the right side of a second row rear seat. As the van was traveling north on Highway 21 in Ashe County, a pickup truck turned left in front of the van causing a collision. On impact, Ms. Delp was thrown forward between the two front seats and under the dash and suffered serious permanent injuries.
She brought claims against Chrysler Corporation and other parties alleging negligence and warranty claims due to the failure of the seat belt to restrain her during the collision. The passengers in the two front seats suffered only minor injuries due to proper functioning of their seat belts.
The plaintiff’s claim focused on allegations that the seat belt floor anchor which was part of the restraint system for the second row rear seat was defective in 1991-1993 Dodge Caravans. The plaintiff discovered that in 1993 Chrysler had changed the design of the seat belt anchor hook utilized as part of the restraint system for the second row seat by utilizing a stronger clip and a second rivet to the spring clip that closes the hook.
Despite this design change in 1993, Chrysler failed to recall or change out the defective anchor in approximately one million 1991 through 1993 Caravans still on the highway. It was not until late 1997 that Chrysler made a recall of the 1991-93 Caravans, offering to replace the defective restraint system floor anchor design.
Principal Injuries (in order of severity): The plaintiff suffered bilateral upper extremity fractures, a right scapular fracture and a left wrist fracture. She underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of her left proximal humerus and right proximal humerus replacement. She was also treated with a short arm cast after a closed reduction of her left wrist fracture. During the pendency of the case, but prior to mediation, the plaintiff died of causes unrelated to the collision.
Special Damages: Medical expenses exceeded $60,000
Tried or settled: Settled
County where tried or settled: Forsyth
Case Name and number: Clyde Farmer Delp v. Chrysler Corporation; Allied Signal, Inc.; Breed Technologies, Inc.; and Kahill & Cathey Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Scenic Dodge Chrysler
Date Concluded: June 1999
Name of Judge: n/a
Amount: Confidential
Insurance Carrier: n/a
Expert Witnesses and areas of expertise: n/a
Attorneys for plaintiffs: George E. Francisco, Mt. Airy, and Robert O. Jenkins of Blanchard, Jenkins & Miller, P.A., Raleigh
Other Useful Info: n/a

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