Charles D. Naylor was named a Consumer Attorney of the Year Finalist for his representation of the family of a longshore worker who was killed by a defective DaimlerChrylser truck at the Los Angeles Harbor.
Announcer: A mysterious death on a southern California dock. A young father killed when his own pickup backed over him. Charles Naylor took the case to get answers for his family. He suspected the problem was a long standing Daimler Chrysler defect.
Charles Naylor: They have had hundreds of prior serious injuries. Before this, 11 deaths as a result of this.
Announcer: The problem is this flat spot on the transmission’s shift mechanism. If the shifter comes to rest on the flat spot, it will indicate the car’s in park. But the shifter can suddenly jump into reverse. Naylor brought in San Francisco attorneys Scott Nealey and Robert Nelson, who helped uncover disturbing details.
Scott Nealey: In fact, some of the most powerful evidence to the fact that the company knew it had a problem, and rather than addressing that problem, and they decided to hide documents, destroy documents, or simply not create them in the first place.
Robert Nelson: They had numerous chances over the years, and despite the fact that there were so many complaints involving this defect, they just literally did nothing.
Announcer: The team took the evidence of a cover-up to the jury, which awarded $5 million in compensatory damages, and another $50 million in punitives. Hopefully, enough to send a message.
Scott Nealy: When the auto industry is confronted with safety problems, which Chrysler was 20 years ago with this issue, that they addressed them. That they do not let them sit, they do not let them fester, and they certainly do no hide them.
Robert Nelson: When you’re dealing with a safety-related defect that can kill people, companies gotta act. They’ve got to do the right thing.
Charles Naylor: It’s important because a verdict like this tells the people who have to work in dangerous conditions, that somebody’s got their back.