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FCA asks for new trial in Georgia case

by Bill Cawthon on

On Thursday, lawyers for FCA US asked for a new trial in the Georgia lawsuit involving the death of a small child in a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In the first trial, which ended April second, a jury in Bainbridge, Georgia, awarded the parents of Remington Walden $30 million for pain and suffering and $120 million for the loss of life.


The jury determined that Brian Harrell, who was driving the pickup truck that slammed into the Grand Cherokee in which the boy was riding, was 1% at fault for Walden’s death and that FCA was 99% liable. Harrell is currently serving time following a guilty plea on a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

In their filing with the Superior Court of Decatur County, FCA attorneys said that the evidence and the law did not support that verdict. The attorneys called the damage awards “stunning and unprecedented” and said they were “grossly excessive.” They noted that the $30 million pain and suffering judgement was over four times the largest such award ever upheld in Georgia. The wrongful death award of $120 million was more than eleven times the current Georgia record for a wrongful death.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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