Case Study #5:
Aggressive tactics result in a case being dropped
Client: A major automobile manufacturer
Type of Case: Rollover of a sports utility vehicle
Background: While traveling on a New Jersey highway, the driver of a sports utility vehicle was cut off by another vehicle. The driver took evasive action, allegedly resulting in the rollover of the SUV. The SUV’s front seat passenger sustained a leg fracture, shoulder fracture and permanent facial scarring.
Suit Filed: The injured passenger sued both the driver of the vehicle (for negligence) and the automobile manufacturer (alleging that a design defect caused the vehicle to be unstable and roll over).
Action Strategy: Aaronson Rappaport sought to convince the plaintiff that it made sense to drop the suit against the automobile manufacturer and focus its energy on the negligence suit against the driver of the vehicle. In conversations with the plaintiff’s counsel, we argued that a negligence suit could be easily won, while a product liability suit against its client would be very difficult and time consuming. To this end, Aaronson Rappaport (a) filed a motion to sever the cases, and (b) made a series of aggressive discovery demands.
Result: The judge severed the cases as anticipated. Soon after, the plaintiff dropped her product liability lawsuit entirely and continued solely against the driver of the vehicle on a negligence theory.