Appeals Court Sides with Fiat-Chrysler in Wrangler Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Arthur Melton Smith was killed when his Wrangler veered off the road and hit a concrete bridge pillar. After the accident, FCA mailed out recall notices for a transmission oil cooler tube that was likely to leak and start an underbody fire in the 2012 and 2013 Wrangler.

The lawsuit was filed by Mr. Smith’s wife and three children who claimed the recall defect caused the Jeep Wrangler to catch fire, but Chrysler escaped the lawsuit when a district court ruled in favor of the automaker on all claims. The plaintiffs appealed to the Fifth Circuit which upheld the district court ruling.

The autopsy revealed that Mr. Smith’s carbon monoxide level was 18%. His family believes CO poisoning from a fire caused Mr. Smith to pass out and crash.

The courts, however, sided with FCA by calling the evidence circumstantial. And then, in a true Scrooge McDuck move, FCA submitted a bill of costs to the plaintiffs for $52,372.