Beasley Allen attorney Mike Andrews visited Ringler Radio to discuss a case of sudden unintended acceleration involving a Volkswagen diesel-powered vehicle. In September 2015, a jury awarded a Georgia woman and her family $8 million in a case that resulted in a crash and serious injuries. The Plaintiff, Cheryl Bullock, was left severely and permanently injured when her 2004 VW Passat GLS TDI sped out of control, leaving the roadway and overturning.
The jury determined Volkswagen Group of America and Honeywell International were aware of a defect in the vehicle’s turbocharger that could lead to sudden acceleration problem. Mike explained that a turbocharger is designed to force more air into the engine intake, squeezing out more power from a smaller engine. The rotating components in the turbocharger have to be lubricated. This is usually done by using some of the oil already in the engine.
Mike explains that because a diesel engine can burn several types of fuel, it was able to pull in engine oil from the turbocharger and use it as a secondary source of power, for which there was no driver control, resulting in sudden unintended acceleration. The jury verdict was later reduced to $4.8 million based on a decision that VW and Honeywell were only 60 percent to blame for the crash. After Honeywell and Volkswagen appealed the verdict, U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land in February denied their request for a new trial and upheld the verdict. Mike, along with Beasley Allen lawyer Kendall Dunson, both attorneys in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability Section, represented the Plaintiffs.