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In the News: Chrysler Contesting Michigan Auto Law $5.6 Million Verdict

October 9, 2008 by Steven M. Gursten

On Oct. 7, The Macomb Daily newspaper published another story about my car accident case out of Macomb County, Michigan. The case resulted in a $5.65 million jury verdict for my clients Tony and Lisa Broeren. Still refusing to accept responsibility, Chrysler is now contesting the verdict.

Tony sustained very serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, a broken jaw and a crushed knee, when he was run over by a pickup truck. Tony can never work again as an electro-mechanical engineer. Chrysler is responsible for the damages under Michigan law, because Chrysler insured the pickup truck that was driven by the defendant Roy Bates II, a Chrysler employee.

The Macomb Daily story focused on how Tony and his family will be affected if they do not receive the money. Tony, who is disabled for life from the auto accident, fears he will lose his home. Chrysler is claiming the wrong verdict form was used in trial, even though it was the same form that’s been used in Michigan auto negligence cases since 1999, as specifically approved by a committee formed by the Michigan Supreme Court that said it was the proper form to use.

It bears repeating that Chrysler had every chance to settle before trial, but instead pushed the case to trial.

Reader Comments Heat Up about Chrysler’s Bad Acts in Car Accident Case

What’s more interesting than Chrysler’s unreasonable request for a new trial is the barrage of passionate reader comments the Macomb Daily story received throughout the day on its Web site.

Most readers sided with my client’s plight. For example, “Open-minded” wrote: “Anytime you have an accident where there is a company vehicle involved, the owner of the vehicle is responsible as with the driver, now here we have is the first offer of 2.6 mil, which was turned down by Chrysler, but was accepted by the Broeren’s but then the jury awarded 5.6 million after Chrysler’s refusal, now Chrysler wants to challenge this amount, and this is absured, they are trying to put the hurt on the VICTIM, which is not right, I hope that with their daily interest rates continueing to rise and that the VICTIM gets double the compensation of which they sought, chrysler, you lost, give it up.”

Another reader who called him or herself “Typical BIG Company BS” added, “If the court’s case evaluation determined the case should have settled for $2.6 million… this guy must have been really hurt! I’ve sat on a jury and its easy to sit on a computer and judge jurors’ decisions, but its rude to say things like “shame on the jury” when you weren’t there and you don’t know the facts. Being a juror is harder than you think. Anyhow, with all the crap that large companies are doing these days to basically steal our retirement and then give themselves huge bonuses before announcing bankruptcy, I’m not surprised that Chrysler is playing these games…”

Some Macomb County Readers Furious Over Car Accident Verdict

On the other hand, some readers literally and shamelessly wanted my client dead. One comment, which was reported as abuse and removed, sadly suggested that Chrysler should pay $50,000 to have Tony Broeren killed!

Another reader named “jml2048” vented: “Ok, another reason that the legal system in the US is out of control. Sorry to hear about the terrible accicdent but once again, a “deep pockets” entity is found and has to pay millions…When will people realize that accidents DO happen in life and there is risk in getting up every day. Lawsuit happy people (and ambulance chasing lawyers) are ruining this country.”

You’d think that as a plaintiff’s lawyer, I would hesitate to discuss such a negative comment about my profession, let alone re-publish it. But it’s quite the opposite. As Michigan personal injury lawyers, we believe these negative and extreme comments illustrate just how many people do not understand the legal system. In my next blog, I will be talking about how unfounded the comments of “jml2048” really are.

What makes our case even stronger is that we prevailed in trial despite the most difficult auto-negligence law in the entire country. In other words, tort reform and subsequent high court decisions have made it difficult for plaintiffs to prove their injuries and win — let alone keep their cases in court. The Macomb County jury, which was stereotypically labeled as conservative, found that my client Tony Broeren’s injuries were so horrific that he needed millions to sustain his care for the rest of his life.

What is yet to come will play out in court.

– This post was written by Steve Gursten, managing partner of Michigan Auto Law. Visit Steve Gursten’s LinkedIn profile.

Related information:
Chrysler Fails to Defraud Macomb County Jury in Serious Car Accident Case

Truck Accident Jury Verdict is One of the Largest in Macomb County

Traumatic Brain Injury from Car Accidents

Dealing with Michigan Auto Insurance Companies After a Car Accident

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2 Replies to “In the News: Chrysler Contesting Michigan Auto Law $5.6 Million Verdict”

  1. If what I am reading is true, then I am very suprised by the total arrogance of how Chrysler has treated another person – another human being like this? I was considering buying a new car from Chyrsler but this case is causing me to seriously reconsider. I hope Mr. Broeren gets justice and gets this behind him. I wish him well.

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