Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., is filing a lawsuit in the State Court of Gwinnett County, Georgia, on behalf of the family of a woman who was killed after her car burst into flames as the result of a crash. The lawsuit alleges the car’s manufacturer, Chrysler Group LLC, was aware that the placement of the fuel tank behind the rear axle in Mary “Erica” Scannavino’s 1996 Jeep Cherokee was dangerous and presented a significant risk of post-crash fires, particularly in rear-impact crashes like the one Ms. Scannavino experienced. In addition, it alleges the after-market trailer hitch attached to her vehicle was defective in design and contributed to the deadly effects of the accident by puncturing through the fuel tank.
Ms. Scannavino was killed July 29, 2017, at the age of 32 when her car was struck from behind by another vehicle. The impact caused the fuel tank of the Jeep Cherokee to fail because it is located in the crush zone behind the vehicle’s rear axle. This resulted in the spillage of a large amount of gasoline that immediately ignited. As the vehicle was hit, its trailer hitch also crushed into the gas tank and punctured it, exacerbating the problem. Her vehicle was engulfed in flames within seconds, trapping her in the vehicle despite efforts by others to free her.
Other Chrysler vehicles, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Jeep Liberty, were recalled for the exact same defect that contributed to Ms. Scannavino’s death, but unlike owners of those vehicles, she did not receive the benefit of being warned about the danger of her vehicle.
“Chrysler has known for decades the dangers associated with placing a fuel tank in that location and was well aware that certain trailer hitches posed a problem to vehicles with fuel tanks in that location,” Chris Glover, the Beasley Allen lawyer who will be handling her case, said. “The combination of these two designs created the most dangerous vehicle I’ve ever seen. The conduct of these two companies in creating and then hiding this problem is sickening. Far too many people have already died as a result.”
The lawsuit seeks to hold Chrysler and Horizon Global Corporation and Horizon Global Americas Inc., the designers and manufacturers of the trailer hitch, accountable for the design defects that contributed to Ms. Scannavino’s death, and alleges negligence and failure to warn. The other driver is also a defendant in the lawsuit.
For more information about this case, or other claims involving post-crash fuel-fed fires, contact Chris Glover in our firm’s Atlanta office at 800-898-2034 or email Chris.Glover@beasleyallen.com. To schedule a media interview, contact Helen Taylor at Helen.Taylor@beasleyallen.com.
Daily Report – Chrysler Faces Another Lawsuit Over Death in a Burning Jeep