Cleveland Personal Injury Attorney Wins Settlement Against Saturn of Fort Wayne, Inc.

February 27, 2014

Cleveland personal injury attorney James Lowe of Lowe Scott Fisher recently obtained a settlement for an undisclosed amount against Saturn of Fort Wayne, Inc. on behalf of Bradley and Angela Peffley. Their four-year-old son Gannon was seriously injured as a result of a faulty brake-shift interlock in the family’s vehicle.

In the summer of 2007, the Peffleys prepared to leave the home of friends they were visiting in Loveland, Ohio. The key to the family’s 2004 Saturn Vue was not in the ignition. The gearshift selector was in “park” and the engine was off. With his parents just outside the vehicle, Gannon got out of his car seat, climbed into the front of the vehicle and moved its gearshift out of “park.” The brake-shift interlock had been disabled because the worn ignition key had been removed when the ignition cylinder was not fully in the lock position. Therefore, the vehicle began to roll backwards down the sloped driveway. While the vehicle was moving, the child jumped or fell out of the driver’s seat, went through the open driver’s door, and was struck by the vehicle.

As a result of the accident, Gannon suffered a fractured skull, a traumatic brain injury, a compression fracture of his spin, a collapsed lung, and a sever fracture to his left femur. Other injuries he sustained required invasive surgeries and caused him to experience permanent, debilitating health problems, including hearing loss, foot drop, and sever respiratory problems.

“Because of our proven automobile product defect expertise, we were called upon to assist with the case and to consult several experts who began collecting key pieces of evidence,” explained James Lowe, a partner at the firm. “We immediately employed an accident reconstruction mechanical engineer and a metallurgist to analyze the condition of the vehicle and the circumstances of the accident. In addition, we hired many medical specialists, including a pediatric neurologist, and a neuropsychologist, to evaluate Gannon’s injuries and assess his future medical needs.”

Following the investigation, the accident reconstruction mechanical engineer and metallurgist determined that the ignition key’s metal was being worn down by the ignition cylinder, allowing the key to be removed from the cylinder while it was not in the locked position. The anti-drill plate inside the ignition cylinder was historically faulty; it was overly sharp, which caused it to grind on the key metal. General Motors, Saturn Corporation’s parent company, failed to remedy the problem with its parts supplier. Because Saturn declared bankruptcy in 2009, the law firm filed suit against the dealership where the Peffley family purchased the Saturn Vue–Saturn of Fort Wayne, Inc.

Since 1976, the award-winning trial attorneys at Lowe Scott Fisher have successfully represented people in the areas of motor vehicle accidents, automobile product safety, personal injury, home and workplace safety, medical malpractice, and birth injuries, as well as families of victims of wrongful death. U.S. News & World Report named the firm to its “Best Law Firms” list (2010-2013), while lawyers from the firm were again honored as Ohio Super Lawyers for 2012. In addition, firm partner James Lowe has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America each year since 1993.

Back To Blog