Crockett & Associates filed today a Los Angeles Superior Court action against FCA US, LLC (Fiat/Chrysler) and others. The complaint alleges a product design defect in a 2013 Chrysler 300 which led to the death of a father of two.

As the vehicle driver tried to stop his vehicle from rolling down the street, he was caught and dragged, leading to mortal injuries and three months of suffering in hospitals before his demise.

The alleged defect concerns a “Monostable Shifter” manufactured by a German company. The shifter provided no tactile or visual feedback to the driver as to whether the vehicle was in park, neutral, reverse or drive.

The Monostable Shifter is the product of FCA’s effort to make its shifters appear to be a game controller’s joy stick. However, when the driver completes his or her shift, the Monostable Shifter returns to top-dead center with no feedback as to which gear the vehicle has been placed, and with no safety procedure to prevent the vehicle from rolling.

FCA recalled the vehicle but did not timely send out a recall notice, the complaint alleges. The complaint further alleges that FCA failed to comply with a federal consent decree which concerned timely notification of safety recalls.

A similar proceeding has been brought by the heirs of Star Trek actor Andrew Yelchin.

Update: The action was dismissed and refiled in Ventura Superior Court in July 2017. The complaint now alleges intentional and negligent failure to recall, and seeks punitive damages. A copy of the complaint is here:  17.06.30 Lavin Verified Complaint 4849-1603-0283 v.2.

For further information, please contact Robert D. Crockett at bob@bobcrockettlaw.com.

Notes: Recall Notice S27/HTSA16V-240; Monostable Shifter.