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ARTICLE ID 8813

Product liability - Automotive - Wrongful death - The plaintiff alleged that seat belt retractor on ________ Lincoln Navigator was defective and "spooled out" causing the decedent to be ejected through the glass in driver's door.

Charleston County, South Carolina

The plaintiff alleged that the seat belt retractor on the ________ Lincoln Navigator was defective and spooled out causing the plaintiff’s decedent to be ejected from the vehicle via the glass opening in the driver’s door. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff’s decedent was not using the seat belt correctly.

The plaintiff, his wife and their grandson were driving a ________ Lincoln Navigator on February 16, ________ on Interstate 95 near Charleston, South Carolina. They were driving from Long Island, New York to Disney World and pulling a 29-foot camper trailer behind the Navigator. For unknown reasons, the plaintiff’s decedent lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over three times in the center median while still dragging the ________- pound trailer. Although the plaintiff’s decedent was belted at the time of incident, she was ejected from the vehicle through the driver’s door glass opening. She died at the scene. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant alleging that the seat belt retractor was defective and spooled out, causing the seat belt to fail and the plaintiff’s decedent to be ejected from the vehicle. The plaintiff alleged that the defective retractor caused 30 inches of the seat belt to spool-out that resulted in the plaintiff being ejected from the vehicle.

The defendants contended that the plaintiff’s decedent wore her seat belt incorrectly. The defendant maintained that the decedent, who weighed approximately ________ pounds, had her shoulder belt under her left arm. The defendant presented evidence from witnesses at the scene that the plaintiff’s grandson claimed at p 7 3 the accident scene that the decedent had her seat belt on incorrectly. The defendant also contended that the spool-out of the seat belt, as alleged by the plaintiff, is virtually impossible.

The jury deliberated for 90 minutes before returning a verdict in favor of the defendant and awarding the plaintiff nothing.

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