A Roanoke, Va., jury has awarded $20 million to a woman who sued Mazda alleging a latch system that was designed to hold the windshield to her 1995 Miata convertible top failed when her vehicle flipped during an accident on a country road.
Shannon Walters, 35, testified that she was “forced to swerve to the left to avoid a plastic swimming pool that slipped from the bed of a pickup truck that was traveling in front of the Mazda Miata she was driving,” according to a local report.
She alleged the windshield collapsed onto her when the car flipped, leaving her paralyzed.
“Our primary defense was that there is no defect,” says Jeremy Barnes, a Mazda spokesperson. “While Mazda has great sympathy for the injuries suffered by Mrs. Walters and values the safety of all occupants of its vehicles, Mazda does not agree that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to support her allegation of defect. The subject accident was a severe rollover accident and we presented evidence that the subject vehicle is a soft top convertible and that no reasonable person could expect a convertible to prevent injury in such a crash.
“[W]hile Mazda understands a jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff, Mazda does not agree that the evidence supports such a verdict and will file post-trial motions and consider all possible grounds for appeal,” he adds.