Client: A major automobile manufacturer
Type of Case: An unintended acceleration event
Background: A driver placed his car in reverse on a Manhattan street when he alleged that a sudden acceleration event occurred. The car traveled half a block before pinning a woman (the plaintiff) against a building, crushing one of her legs and completely severing the other.
Suit Filed: The plaintiff alleged defective design and manufacturing of a speed control system. This allegation was supported using the “transient signal theory” proffered by the well-known plaintiff’s expert, Sam Sero. In addition, the plaintiff intended to utilize numerous alleged “other similar incident” (OSI) complaints.
Litigation Concern: The firm was concerned that if the opposition was permitted to use the “transient signal theory” and/or OSIs as evidence at trial, a Bronx jury might return an excessive verdict in favor of the sympathetic female plaintiff.
Action Strategy: Aaronson Rappaport filed numerous motions in limine to preclude testimony on the “transient signal theory” and OSIs. The firm argued that (a) neither Mr. Sero nor his “transient signal theory” are accepted within the scientific/engineering community and that (b) the OSIs bore little resemblance to the incident in question and therefore could not be used to show a defect.
Result: The trial judge concurred with our arguments and precluded the plaintiff from using Mr. Sero, the “transient signal theory”, or OSIs.
Plaintiff elected not to proceed to trial in light of the judge’s ruling and instead filed an appeal. Click here to view Justice Stanley Green's decision. The Appellate Division, First Department held that while the plaintiff did not present an appealable issue they found no error with the lower court's decision. Click here to read the appellate court's decision.