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Just Verdicts Podcast Spotlights KLFB’s $1B Verdict Against Mitsubishi

Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball’s $1 billion unanimous jury verdict against Mitsubishi was featured in the Just Verdicts podcast in an episode that discusses legal strategy in achieving the record result. 

 

After a week-long trial, Philadelphia jurors found in favor of a man left quadriplegic when the seat belt in his Mitsubishi 3000 GT failed to protect him during a 2017 accident. The verdict on behalf of 58-year-old Francis Amagasu included $176 million in compensatory damages and an additional $800 million in punitive damages.

 

 

In the Just Verdicts podcast, trial lawyer Wes Ball recalls how focus groups helped the legal team prepare, and details the process of picking a jury. He also discusses the challenges of anchoring a case in a jurisdiction that does not allow attorneys to suggest a damages amount to the jury. 

 

“In my opinion, there is absolutely no injury worse than quadriplegia,” Mr. Ball told the Just Verdicts podcast. “He had a lifestyle before this occurred that is the exact opposite of what he has now. He was the epitome of an outdoorsman, and this took all of that away from him. I made sure the jury could understand that there were real implications to what their ultimate decision was going to be.” 

 

The crash happened in November 2017 as Mr. Amagasu was driving in Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania. He attempted to maneuver around another vehicle when his car rolled over. Though he was wearing a seat belt, it was one made with a so-called “rip-stitch” design, in which the belt rips apart to, in theory, better manage the forces in a crash. The plaintiffs team argued that design was defective, as the seat belt intentionally tears apart and becomes four inches longer. Mr. Amagasu’s head was forced into the car’s roof, and he broke his neck. 

 

The case is Soomi Amagasu et al. v. Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., case number 02406, in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. 

 

Click here to watch the full episode.