A Montana judge has ruled that Montana limits on punitive damages are unconstitutional, awarding $73 million in punitive damages to the families of two teenagers killed in a 2011 auto crash that occurred because of a steering defect. The original punitive jury award against Hyundai was $240 million. The jury also awarded $8.1 million in actual damages, making the total judgment against Hyundai $81.1 million.
The case involved a product defect in a 2005 Hyundai Tiburon. The driver of the vehicle lost control due to a faulty steering knuckle, which broke while the Tiburon was in operation. According to evidence presented, Hyundai had previously received 127 warranty reports on faulty steering knuckles over the previous decade. The judge ruled that Hyundai had shown reckless indifference, and was liable for the deaths of the two teenaged boys killed in the crash.
Hyundai will appeal the ruling and attempt to seek a cap to the punitive damages. The Korean auto manufacturer alleges that the accident in this case was caused by fireworks exploding in the vehicle prior to the crash.
See the full news article here.