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California Auto Defects Lawyers File Products Liability Injury Action Against Nissan

Los Angeles, CA (Vocus) January 14, 2010

The California personal injury attorneys of BISNAR CHASE (www.BestAttorney.com)] have filed a product liability injury lawsuit against Nissan Motor Co., LTD., Nissan North America, Inc., Nissan Design America, Ikeda Engineering, Vintec Co. The suit alleges that the 2000 Nissan Frontier manufactured by Nissan failed to properly protect Jaklin Mikhil Romine during an October 2006 rear-end crash that caused her to suffer severe head injuries and spinal injuries, including incomplete quadriplegia, when her defective seatback collapsed during the rear-end collision. The action was brought against the aforementioned defendants by the plaintiff, Jaklin Mikhil Romine. The lawsuit is pending in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, case # BC386031.

Alleged Unsafe Seatback Fails, Permanently Renders Plaintiff an Incomplete Quadriplegic

According to court records, Jaklin Mikhal Romine was stopped at an intersection in the city of Pasadena, California on October 21, 2006, when her vehicle was rear ended by another vehicle. Consequently, Jaklin's seat broke and collapsed rearward, permitting her body to submarine backward and underneath her seat belt and shoulder restraints, in turn causing her head to strike the rear passenger seatback, causing catastrophic spinal injuries and head injuries that permanently rendered her an incomplete quadriplegic. "We're alleging that Nissan Motor Co., LTD., Nissan North America, Inc. and Nissan Design America manufactured, sold, marketed and failed to inspect and warn Ms. Romine of its defective and unsafe seatback system," said John Bisnar of the BISNAR CHASE Los Angeles Auto Products Liability Law Firm.

Furthermore, in this instance, not only did the seat fail, but the gear teeth on the seat's recliner catastrophically failed and sheared some of its gear teeth. What's more, Bisnar alleges that the defendants, Ikeda Engineering, Vintec Co. and Johnson Controls, who made the defective seat, also failed to warn Ms. Romine of the defective nature of the seat when they were fully capable of manufacturing a non-defective seat, such as the seat they designed for the Chrysler Sebring convertible since the mid 1990s. Also, Autoliv Safety Technology knew that not having a belt-integrated restraint system in a collapsing seat design such as that of the Frontier would fail to restrain and occupant in a rear-end crash and that there was a risk of catastrophic injury.

Nissan May Have Been Aware of Defective Seats and Unsafe Seatbacks

The lawsuit further claims that Nissan knew the plaintiff's vehicle seatbacks were too weak and were incapable of withstanding foreseeable, modest rear-end impacts at closure speeds as low as 30 miles per hour without collapsing and causing catastrophic injuries to properly-restrained occupants based on results from prior car accidents, lawsuits and their own in-house testing, and from mandatory pre-production fuel system integrity tests required by law to be conducted under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS).

The lawsuit also alleges that despite the availability of simple methods to correct seatback auto defects, as recommended on information and belief by Nissan's own automotive engineers, such as strengthened seatback frames, stronger recliners and belt-integrated seats, and in spite of the known risk of serious and fatal head injuries, spinal injuries and occupant ejection, Nissan chose to ignore the inherent safety problems and took no action to prevent such debilitating injuries and deaths, because of concern about increased production costs and reduced profits.

In 1976, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) enacted FMVSS 301, which required that all automakers selling automobiles in the US to conduct documented, filmed and/or videotaped rear-end barrier impact crash testing of all of their vehicle platforms, to ensure proper fuel system integrity during such accidents. The films of these FMVSS 301 tests reveal that most, if not all, of Nissan's vehicles' front seatbacks in cars manufactured since the 301 tests were first required, failed and collapsed backward causing test dummies inside to strike the rear seats during rear-end impact tests.

The lawsuit alleges that, despite knowledge of these ongoing problems, Nissan knowingly and purposefully designed, manufactured and installed, and continued to design, manufacture and install unsafe and defective passenger seats which it knew would cause death or serious injuries to front seat occupants in foreseeable and statistically inevitable rear-end impacts, and as a result, knowingly and deliberately exposed properly-restrained occupants of their vehicles to the risks of death and serious injuries resulting from rear-end impacts.


The BISNAR CHASE law firm's personal injury lawyers represent people who have been very seriously injured or lost a family member due to an accident, defective product or negligence throughout California. The law firm has won a wide variety of auto defect cases against most of the major auto manufacturers, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler. Get a complimentary copy of Still Unsafe at Any Speed: Auto Defects that Cause Wrongful Deaths and Catastrophic Injuries.

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