Segal McCambridge attorneys, Jeff Singer, Paul Wojcicki and Holly Stevens successfully defended Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America in an eight-day product liability trial from claims that a wiring harness was improperly assembled at the factory in a 2001 Porsche Boxster which led to a devastating fire in the home of Royal and Debra Johnson of Wayne, Illinois. The case was tried before a jury in Kane County, Illinois.
Porsche, which had no other claims of electrical fires in its Boxster automobiles, chose to aggressively defend this case brought by the Johnsons and their insurer, State Farm, for their property damage resulting from the fire.
Plaintiffs relied on the testimony of experts qualified to offer opinions on vehicle fires, fire cause and origin investigation and electrical engineering. Porsche relied on evidence offered by experts on fire cause and origin investigation, electrical engineering, and its state-of-the-art technology, which includes a diagnostic system to identify wiring faults and evidence that Porsche engineering precludes electrical fires from ever developing in its vehicles from wire abrasion.
The twelve-person jury deliberated a little more than two hours in reaching its verdict in favor of the Porsche companies. After the verdict, Jeff Singer, lead trial counsel, explained the challenges his team faced and why the jury decided on a defense verdict.
"Porsche chose to take on a very challenging case. We did not have evidence showing what actually caused the fire so we had to focus our defense in establishing that, whatever caused the fire, it was not the Porsche automobile. After listening to evidence from a Porsche field technician, including a jury view of an exemplar 2001 Boxster, we feel the jury came away with the view that Porsche's commitment to state-of-the-art technology established the subject vehicle was a victim of the fire--not its cause. We congratulate Porsche for choosing to try a highly complex case such as this one."
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