March 24, 2006

Lawsuit Lottery Stopped Dead

Looks like the automotive industry fought back and actually won for once in the Lawsuit Lottery and they also got a Lawyer disbared!

In a classic turnaround, DaimlerChrysler has demanded disbarment of a Texas lawyer whose reported misconduct included diddling a Dodge Neon supposedly to show its steering system was defective - in support of a bogus $2 billion product liability action.

According to DaimlerChrysler lawyer Steven B. Hantler, "Our company was the victim of one of the most outrageous examples of lawyer misconduct in Texas history. This lawyer prosecuted a lawsuit that he knew was based on fabricated evidence."

In 1998, three San Antonio lawyers sued DC and others in a case involving a Neon which rolled after the driver fell asleep, killing four passengers. Just before trial, Chrysler learned the Neon's steering system had been tampered with after the crash to make it appear it was defective. The plaintiff lawyers refused to provide "before" photographs to the court, and their investigator tried to bribe witnesses to lie that the driver had not fallen asleep.

When the fraud was revealed the judge dismissed the case and fined the lawyers nearly $1 million which, according to DaimlerChrysler, still remains unpaid. The trial judge referred the matter to the Texas Bar for disciplinary action, which resulted in one of the trio being disbarred after he fled the country, while the other two received less sanctioning than DC attorneys felt was justified.

Accordingly, they have intervened with the Bar for further review of the remaining lawyers' status.

This is not the first time an auto company has fought back against misconduct by plaintiff attorneys or their allies. Several years ago, a contract trial lawyer defending General Motors sued the Center for Auto Safety for defamation by the CAS in post-trial statements concerning GM's defense of its trucks. The Center's insurance carrier settled for the full amount of the liability coverage held by CAS, $500,000.

Hattip: The Car Connection

Posted by Quality Weenie at March 24, 2006 08:28 AM | TrackBack

I wish everyone had the resources to fight back against lawyers.

Posted by: Ogre at March 24, 2006 10:45 AM