Walden Closing Argument

April 2, 2015 7:46 pmComments Off on Walden Closing ArgumentViews: 56

Jim Butler began final closing argument just after 1:30pm. He drew the comparison between Harrell accepting responsibility for what happened immediately and Chrysler “never” taking responsibility for what happened. Argued people don’t know where their gas tank is and Chrysler doesn’t tell them. Talked about Chrysler’s own brochure for the Ram van which said the gas tank was put mid-ship for protection. Reiterated that Emily and Brian had no injuries and Remi only had a broken leg from the crash itself, which belies the notion it was a “severe” wreck. Pointed out no Chrysler representatives were brought to explain why the gas tank was later moved if, as Chrysler claimed, it was absolutely safe to have it there. Talked about destruction of Chrysler’s rear impact tech club database.


Butler drew comparison between the fact that Chrysler brought in paid experts whereas all of the plaintiff’s witnesses were independent witnesses with no financial agenda. He made reference to the Baker memo and a 1990 Chrysler document saying placing the gas tank mid-ship would give protection in rear and side impacts. Butler said Chrysler ignored letters from customers warning of fuel tank fires and specifically the threat of a child not being able to get out of a car seat in a fire (Friend letter). He said Chrysler kept bringing up 301 in trial because they had nothing else to talk about. He played a section of Marchionne depo in which Marchionne said that he didn’t think 301 was always enough and there were cases where Chrysler went beyond 301 requirements.


He went on to bring up NHTSA and the private meeting. That no members of ODI were present at that meeting and that the purpose of the meeting was to come to a resolution without a finding of a defect.


Moved on to talk about damages, saying what Chrysler attorneys recommended ($1.7 million) put Remi’s worth at $57 a day. His whole life would be 43 times less than Marchionne made in one year (I think I heard that right, but would need to confirm). Butler listed off all of the things Remington missed in the span of his life and what those things would have meant to him, community and country. Asked for $120 million.


He ended with a quote from the Talmud about doing justly, not needing to complete the work, but not abandoning it either.


In recess now. Judge’s instructions to the jury will be after the break.



Clarence Ditlow

Executive Director

Center for Auto Safety

1825 Connecticut Ave NW #330

Washington DC 20009

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