A judge has refused to overturn or reduce a $50 million award for the family of a San Pedro longshoreman who was killed by a runaway Dodge Dakota.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel “Red” Recana denied DaimlerChrysler Corp.’s motion for a new verdict, trial and reduction in the award on Thursday.
“We’re gratified that the judge who heard all of the witness testimony felt that the punitive damages were not only justified, but required,” San Pedro attorney Charles D. Naylor said.
In March, a jury awarded the $50 million in punitive damages, along with $5.2 million in compensatory damages, to the family of Richard Mraz.
Mraz, 38, was killed May 1, 2004, while working at the Port of Los Angeles.
The jury found that a “park-to-reverse” defect in the Dakota’s automatic transmission caused the pickup truck to slip out of gear.
It hit and ran over Mraz, who left behind a wife, a 3-year-old daughter and two stepsons. His wife has vowed to use the money to publicize the defects in that vehicle and others.