Judge Deborah Kim Christopher lowered the gavel on Hyundai earlier this week over a fatal accident involving an alleged defective 2005 Hyundai Tiburon.
The lawsuit revolves around two teenage males who were killed when their Tiburon swerved into oncoming traffic. It was claimed by the victims’ families that a defective steering knuckle caused the accident, however Hyundai attorneys argued that the 19-year-old driver Trevor Olson and 14-year-old passenger Tanner Olson had been lighting fireworks in the car, ultimately causing the loss of control.
Judge Christopher cited 127 warranty reports of steering-knuckle problems as evidence of a “reckless disregard” for the health and safety of the motoring public. This proved to be the deciding factor in the case and Hyundai is now responsible for $81 million in damages. Hyundai vehemently disagreed to the decision and claimed the verdict was far north of the ‘$10 million’ limit set by the state. Christopher did agree in part by reducing the punitive damages to $73 million. However, no matter what the amount awarded was, the family will never be able to get the two teenage boys back.
This lawsuit has costed Hyundai more than $240 million in total.