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Jury Awards $25M to Plaintiffs in Nissan Defective Infiniti QX56 SUV Braking System Lawsuit


This is a settlement for the Automotive lawsuit.

Santa Clara, CA: A $25 million settlement was awarded to surviving family who suffered the loss of their mother and her two daughters who were killed in 2012 when a Nissan Infiniti QX56 SUV crashed into the family’s minivan in a Hollywood intersection. The Nissan SUV had a defective braking system.

Nissan faced claims from both the driver of the SUV, Solomon Mathenge, and the family of Saida Mendez, and her two children, Hilda and Stephanie Cruz. The jury returned a verdict finding the fatal accident was 100 percent attributable to the defective Nissan braking system in the Infiniti SUV. Further, the jury found that Nissan had been negligent in not recalling the vehicle.

Although Mathenge was charged with manslaughter after the crash, the charges were dropped following the settlement Nissan defective brake system class action lawsuit filed against Nissan. That class action alleged the software braking system in certain of Nissan’s vehicles was prone to sudden failure, and inspection of Mathenge’s QX56 revealed it had suffered that very same software error, according to the plaintiffs’ trial brief.

The trial consolidated the claims made by the deceased children’s father, Hilario Cruz, the deceased mother’s surviving daughter, Araceli Mendez, and her mother, Juana de la Cruz Bernardino, with Mathenge’s claims.

The jury awarded Hilario Cruz $14 million in non-economic damages for the deaths of his daughters, and $7 million to Araceli Mendez for the loss of her mother and a further $431,000 for the loss financial support, gifts and household services she would have received from her mother had she not been killed. Mathenge was awarded $3.5 million in damages.

The award was significantly less than the amount plaintiffs’ attorneys were seeking. They had asked the jury to find Nissan guilty of malice, as the company was aware of the defect and its danger, but refused to recall the affected vehicles. However, the jury found Nissan did not act with malice.

The case is Cruz v. Nissan North America, et al., case number BC493949, in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County.

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Published on Jul-24-17


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