FCA CEO Ordered To Give Deposition In Jeep-Related Lawsuit

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been ordered by a Georgia judge to give a deposition as part of a lawsuit made against his company by a family whose son was killed in a rear-end crash involving a Jeep.

Bloomberg reports the Walden family is suing FCA, stating the fiery accident that took the life of their four-year-old son, Remington Cole, was the result of a safety hazard involving the placement of the fuel tank in their 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The judge asked the automaker to make its CEO available for a videotape deposition at a time agreed upon by both involved parties, per a decision on the case made last month.

FCA’s Chrysler Group stated said Jeep wasn’t defective, and that it met or exceeded safety standards that were in place when the vehicle left the assembly line. The automaker did offer its sympathy to the family, however:

Chrysler Group expresses its most profound sympathy to those affected by this tragedy, which resulted from a collision with a pickup truck driven in a manner police described as “erratic, reckless, careless (and) negligent.”

The statement follows a similar response made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June 2013, when the agency requested the automaker recall 2.7 million Grand Cherokees and Libertys over the vehicles’ fuel tanks, which posed a fire risk due to their location between the rear bumper and axle. FCA later applied a fix for 1.56 million affected units — the installation or repair of a trailer hitch to help minimize the effects of a low-speed crash — but not for the 1999 Grand Cherokee like the one cited in the lawsuit.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 17, 2014

    Why didn't Fiat get a similar legal protection from liability to GM for the product made prior to the bailout?

    • Pch101 Pch101 on Nov 17, 2014

      GM and Chrysler do not have liability for crashes that occurred prior to the bankruptcy. This crash occurred three years after the BK, so there is the possibility of liability.

  • Wmba Wmba on Nov 17, 2014

    Triple jeopardy or what. Chrysler designed that vehicle, got bought by Mercedes in1998, who flogged it to the utter dimbulbs at Cerberus in what, 2006, who went bankrupt two years later, and eventually the remains got gifted 25% to Fiat as a new corporate entity Now FCA get to hold responsibility? Yes, that makes sense. Sure. I'd like to complain about Shredded Wheat and Cheerios from 1962. These were the only breakfast cereals tested by Consumer Reports which could not sustain life in rats. And I ate a lot of those cereals back then. Burp. Not after I read that issue. That stuff had almost zero food value, but of course immediately afterwards became vitamin therapy in disguise, as later tests showed. Healthy eatin' all of a sudden, but by then it was Special K for me. They had put the vitamins in from day one and recommended you pour milk on their otherwise worthless husks. Smart. I hazard a guess that the US habit of electing judges has to be onet reason why this lawsuit wasn't thrown out as frivolous. Gotta be a populist to get re-elected.

    • DenverMike DenverMike on Nov 17, 2014

      Fiat took the good with the bad. If they had shut down Chrysler Group and started with a new name and all new products, then I'd have some sympathy.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 17, 2014

    Seriously Derek, Verticalscope is starting to look *really* incompetent over this spam thing. I realize the TTAC staff itself has little control and is working with their corporate partners to rectify the problem, but seriously how long does it take to realize either Wordpress has defects or IT introduced defects at some point from September to now. I believe Wordpress is defective -in at least how TTAC is configured- due to the numerous changes they made to the spam filter from v1.5 to now (released 31.Aug.14). Rollback to prior to this or reconfigure/neutralize your spam filter, seriously this is not that hard.

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    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 18, 2014

      @Derek Kreindler I just got handed actual work to do *gasp* but I'll make it a point to send a message.

  • And003 And003 on Nov 17, 2014

    In my view, this is a pretty sad state of affairs. Marchionne wasn't even in charge when these particular Jeeps were built, and the Chrysler Group LLC that merged with Fiat SpA is a new corporate entity, unconnected to the original Chrysler, which built these particular Jeeps. It isn't fair that he and his associates should have to take the heat for the original Chrysler's mistakes, especially since he's been trying to improve the quality of Chrysler vehicles, even though it should be noted that Consumer Reports recently flunked them on reliability issues.

    • Morea Morea on Nov 18, 2014

      "It's all George Bush's fault." You take the job you take the responsibility.