A federal court jury in Lufkin, Texas unanimously found there was no defect in either the roof or driver’s side window of the 1997 Honda Accord. Plaintiff Ashley Cartwright was driving alone in rural east Texas when she was involved in a single-vehicle rollover accident in which she was ejected. Plaintiff was rendered a quadriplegic as a result of her injuries. She alleged that the vehicle was defective in two respects. First, that the roof was not strong enough to resist roof crush and, second, that the driver’s side window was defective because it used tempered glass rather than laminated glass. Plaintiff maintained the roof crush caused the driver’s side window to pop out and break creating an ejection portal, and that she sustained her paralyzing injuries as a result of hitting the ground after being ejected. Jeff Hawkins and Grant McFarland, on behalf of Honda, presented evidence that neither the roof nor the window glass was defective and that Plaintiff sustained her injuries inside of the vehicle because she failed to wear her seatbelt. After six days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, the jury found there was no defect in either the vehicle’s roof or the driver’s side window.
This is the second rollover case in a row that Jeff Hawkins and Grant McFarland have won for Honda. In April 2009, they successfully defended another rollover case in federal court in Amarillo, Texas in which the Plaintiff sustained paralyzing injuries after being ejected in a rollover accident.