On Septemeber 30, 2011, a United States District Court in New York granted Diamler AG, Mercedes-AMG GmbH, and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC’s, motion for summary judgment in an action brought by Plaintiff to recover for injuries incurred in an accident that allegedly occurred because of multiple defects in the vehicle.
Plaintiff was a passenger in a 2003 Mercedes Benz CL 55, which allegedly “lunged” into oncoming traffic due to a defect in the car’s engine or transmission. The car’s driver and other passenger were killed in the accident, and the instant plaintiff suffered various injuries. Additionally, the Plaintiff alleged that defects in the car’s seatbelt, seat back, and airbags also contributed to his injuries.
However, Plaintiff failed to provide any expert testimony in support of his allegations. Instead, Plaintiff argued that it was not necessary to introduce expert testimony with regard to what he contended was a “relatively simple design flaw,” that “does not take an expert to explain, understand, or solve.” The Court did not agree that the alleged design flaws were are “simple” or that they would be obvious to an understandable by a layperson.
Accordingly, the Court held that Plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to the existence of any design defect in the vehicle. Furthermore, the Court also stated that Plaintiff’s seatbelt claim was not only precluded by the absence of expert testimony, but also was preempted by federal law.