The liability insurance carrier for Auranco, a former subsidiary of Coachmen Industries Inc., agreed to pay “approximately $18 million” to an accident victim, according to a Coachmen spokesman.
The payment is part of an out-of-court settlement to a damage suit filed by John Borgia of Erie, Pa., the driver of a converted van who received severe brain injuries during a collision with a drunk driver in 1994.
A jury in Los Angeles recently awarded $35 million in damages to Borgia. The jury ruled that Auranco was responsible for 25% of the liability and the intoxicated driver, who is uninsured and has no assets, is responsible for 53% of the liability, according to The National Law Journal.
Auranco was a seat pedestal manufacturer which Coachmen sold in 1993 and which ceased operations in 1994.
The jury found the van converter to be 13% liable and the seat manufacturer to be 7% liable, The National Law Journal reported. Both settled out-of-court earlier.
Chrysler, manufacturer of the van chassis, and the dealership that sold the converted van were each found to be 1% liable. Chrysler also settled out-of-court.
The jury ruled that the seat pedestal deformed during the accident causing Borgia’s injuries to be more severe than they otherwise would have been, according to Jonathan Corn, a Del Mar, Calif.-based attorney who specializes in defending RV manufacturers against product liability suits.
During the trial, Borgia’s attorney criticized the fact the various seat components were safety tested separately, instead of as a unit, according to Corn, who also operates the Web site RVDefense.com.
However, Corn, who did not represent any of the parties involved in the Borgia case, added that he does not know whether testing the seat components as a unit would have changed the outcome of the trial.