Marlene and her husband Albert were doing landscaping for a new home that they were building and about to move into along with their two young boys. Albert was using a friend’s skidsteer loader to move dirt on the property. At one point he turned off the equipment to speak to his wife. Marlene watched in horror as the equipment drifted down a slope and then careened down a long steep embankment. Albert was ejected at the bottom, and died at the scene from severe internal injuries. Suit was brought against the manufacturer because there was no adequate braking mechanism that could be used when the engine was shut off, and there were no warnings about this hazard. A confidential settlement was negotiated in federal court.
Amanda was an 18 year old single mother who was killed while driving her grandmother’s automobile. She was involved in a low speed impact. Her speed was estimated to be no more than 14 – 21 miles per hour. Unfortunately the driver side airbag of the car deployed at speeds approaching 200 m.p.h. Amanda was short-statured and thus had her seat pulled in the full forward position. The forces of the deploying airbag caused cardiac contusions, leading in turn to irreversible heart damage and a heart transplant. Amanda died from complications following the heart transplant. The manufacturer had known for a number of years that short-statured driver’s were at an increased risk for fatal injuries in low speed collisions where the airbag deployed, yet did nothing to modify the risk or adequately warn about it. After a week long trial, a Marion County jury returned a verdict for the family of nearly 2 million dollars.