Suzuki Prevails in California Brake-Related Product Liability Case

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Source: Suzuki Motor Corporation announcement

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal reversed a jury verdict that had awarded Plaintiff Joseph Soulliere damages, including punitive damages, for a crash where he claimed the front brake on his Suzuki GSX-R600 suddenly failed, causing him to suffer serious injuries.

Over a year after the crash, Soulliere began to blame the front brake master cylinder, when he found out it was the subject of a Suzuki recall. At trial, Soulliere told the jury that a vehicle pulled out of a parking lot in front of him and when he applied his front brake it failed, causing him to crash.

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But the jury did not hear that days after his crash, Soulliere told the investigating officer his brakes (plural) locked up, causing the crash.  Brake lock-up is not the recall condition and, in fact, is indicative of a fully functional front brake. The appellate court found that the trial court erred in excluding the investigating officer’s key evidence. The Court also found that since Soulliere did not present evidence that the recall condition even caused his crash, the recall should have been excluded as more prejudicial than probative under California Evidence Code §352.

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According to the announcement, “While Suzuki sympathizes with Mr. Soulliere and anyone in a crash, it believes that Mr. Soulliere’s claim was without merit. Suzuki stands by all of its products and looks forward to this case being dismissed.”

To view the entire announcement, click HERE.

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