Dealership Not Responsible

A jury has ruled that an Ohio Ford dealership was not responsible for the devastating injuries suffered by former Detroit Red Wings star defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov ' the result of a limousine crash in 1997. In a 6-1 majority decision, a federal court jury found that Findlay Ford Lincoln Mercury did not breach a safety warranty and therefore was not negligent.

The lawsuit alleged the dealership, that sold the stretch limousine, was responsible for damages suffered by Konstantinov and former Red Wings masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov - because no working seat belts were easily accessible in the passenger area of the limo. The dealership denied responsibility, citing the limo chauffer's, Richard Gnida, driving record. Gnida, who admitted he had fallen asleep at the wheel, had a terrible driving record and had previously been caught driving drunk in a limo owned by the company he worked for, namely Gambino's Westside Limousine Service.

Richard M. Goodman, the Detroit lawyer representing Konstantinov and Mnatskanov, blamed the verdict on what he said was propaganda by corporations against personal injury awards. Goodman had originally asked jurors to award the two men more than $240 million in damages! Despite the verdict, Goodman said he is considering an appeal

Feeney, the attorney for Findlay Ford, argued that although customers sometimes pushed the seat belts under the seats of the limo, it was the responsibility of Gambino's and the limo driver to make sure they were pulled back out and visible to passengers. The trial heard evidence Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov were habitual seat belt users and it was agreed that neither would have suffered a serious injury if seat belts had been worn.

The plaintiffs had previously made settlements with Ford Motor Co. and the limousine company, Gambino's Westside Limousine Service. The company that converted the Lincoln Town Car into a stretch limo, National Coach, is out of business.

The trial's conclusion highlights the fact that people need to be vigilant when it comes to personal safety and take responsibility. Simply opting to sue everyone within reach, for one's own negligence is of little comfort if you are permanently disabled and even worse if you lose the lawsuit. At HireLimos our chauffeur will look after your event and your needs, but you use your common sense too to look after yourself, fasten your seat belt!