Millions Awarded in Louisiana for the Death of a Child Caused by a Defective Vehicle

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in Guillot v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 2008-1485 (La. App. 4 Cir. 9/24/10), upheld awards of $2,775,000 to a mother and $2,100,000 to a father for the death of their 17 day old brain damaged baby who was surgically removed from the mother’s abdomen following an accident, and was removed from life support 17 days later. The mother was pinned between the vehicle door and a brick column when the defective Jeep Cherokee rolled backwards.

The Court of Appeal reasoned as follows: “We do not find that the trial court abused its vast discretion with respect to the general damage award, nor do we find that the award shocks the conscience. It is indisputable that the unique facts of this case are extraordinarily tragic. Additionally, the Louisiana Supreme Court has held that ‘[t]he determination of the severity of mental anguish of distress resulting from the death of another is a fact question which depends upon several components, including, but not limited to, the closeness of the ties between the parties, the degree of love in the relationship, and the length of the relationship.’ Herbert v. Webre, 2008-0060 (La.5/21/08), 982 So.2d 770, n. 7 (citing Hill v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co., 05-1783 (La.7/10/06), 935 So.2d 691, 695).”