February 27, 2020
A case defended by Los Angeles partners Phil Cosgrove and Ryan Cosgrove has been named by the Daily Journal as a Top Verdict of 2019, the largest and most significant verdicts and appellate reversals in California, according to the publication.
The case, Mezo et al. v. FCA US LLC et al., centered on whether Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was at fault for vehicles not having auto park features on cars in 2013.
Morton Lavin was injured in a roll-away incident involving his 2013 Chrysler 300 and died later as a result of those injuries, the plaintiffs alleged. They claimed the gear shifter was defective because of a lack of an automatic park feature and that FCA had issued a recall to add that feature months before the incident. The defense argued that 96% of cars in 2013 did not have an auto park feature and that the driver had failed to put the car in park, causing the roll-away incident.
The jury unanimously gave a verdict in favor of the defense and didn't find the shifter defective nor the car company responsible for his death. The judge issued a tentative ruling in January 2020 awarding defendants $257,000 in costs, and, after a settlement, the plaintiffs will pay FCA $125,000 and dismiss their appeal.
The Cosgroves defended the case with Derek S. Whitefield and Fred Fresard of Dykema Gossett.
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