Honda Loses $37mil Suit Over 3rd Row Center Belt - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Honda Loses $37mil Suit Over 3rd Row Center Belt

A Dallas jury found Honda negligent in the design of the Odyssey 3rd row center seat belt. This is of interest to us, as it is essentially the same design used by all vehicles (including Pacifica) for a center seat where that seat folds into the floor.

At issue is the concept that it is too easy to misuse the belt by fastening the shoulder harness without fastening the lap belt. That is considered more dangerous than remaining un-belted. The jury was presented with a study that, when a study group was asked to buckle in, 50 of 53 people did it incorrectly. I'm sure that study is accurate, as that center belt is difficult to comprehend for a passenger not familiar with it. The scenario here is the Odyssey was an Uber ride, and the victim was a passenger. The Odyssey rolled over in the accident.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 05:26 PM
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Goodness - I am surprised that un-belted would be safer than shoulder belt but I do agree that is not intuitive to use for the unfamiliar.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 06:00 PM
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Goodness - I am surprised that un-belted would be safer than shoulder belt but I do agree that is not intuitive to use for the unfamiliar.
John
According to the lawyer, it really wasn't connected at all, although he doesn't actually admit to that. He says his client pulled down the mini latch from the roof and plugged it into the regular buckle, not into the mini buckle. She supposedly heard a click and figured it was connected. \_(ツ)_/

I had a Honda Pilot for 11 years with the exact same system, on the 2nd and 3rd row middle seats. Both of the mini latches never worked in the regular buckles. I just tried it on the Pacifica 3rd row and it went in, but it doesn't really stay and certainly doesn't click.

I wouldn't say this lawsuit was frivolous, she was in an unfamiliar vehicle (an Uber) and shouldn't be expected to know how all seatbelt systems work, but she needs to take some of the responsibility on herself. I, and my kids, all tug on the belts once they're latched, just to test... ocd maybe, but better safe than yadda yadda.... it's just common sense.

On a side note, there wouldn't have been any confusion if the the mini latches were always connected.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 09:02 PM
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Probably most of that money is to give her some kind of independent life instead of confined in a nursing home.

I would have liked to see that video of 50 people doing it wrong. I don't doubt confusion by a significant majority but 95% is high. But I guess today everyone is used to one piece lap/shoulder belts and may not look for two fastening points.

Tragic.

But I look forward to the automotive ingenuity that this may set off....

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Waldo View Post
A Dallas jury found Honda negligent in the design of the Odyssey 3rd row center seat belt. This is of interest to us, as it is essentially the same design used by all vehicles (including Pacifica) for a center seat where that seat folds into the floor.

At issue is the concept that it is too easy to misuse the belt by fastening the shoulder harness without fastening the lap belt. That is considered more dangerous than remaining un-belted. The jury was presented with a study that, when a study group was asked to buckle in, 50 of 53 people did it incorrectly. I'm sure that study is accurate, as that center belt is difficult to comprehend for a passenger not familiar with it. The scenario here is the Odyssey was an Uber ride, and the victim was a passenger. The Odyssey rolled over in the accident.
I think that the driver should have checked to see if the seat belt was fastened correctly since it is not a typical seat belt.
We should not assume that a guest in our van knows how to connect this type of seat belt and assist if needed.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 10:08 PM
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I think that the driver should have checked to see if the seat belt was fastened correctly since it is not a typical seat belt.

We should not assume that a guest in our van knows how to connect this type of seat belt and assist if needed.


Absolutely agree that the driver shares the responsibility here.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 03:59 PM
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Having done civil trial work for over 20 years, let me assure you that with a bad draw, you can end up with a jury that will believe anything. Texas is known for less than brilliant juries that like to make people rich.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 06:16 PM
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Having done civil trial work for over 20 years, let me assure you that with a bad draw, you can end up with a jury that will believe anything. Texas is known for less than brilliant juries that like to make people rich.
Unless it was repealed, Texas caps punitive damages at something like $750,000. So the rest of the money, less the lawyer's cut, is to support her for the rest of her life.

But yes, juries, not just in Texas, often view big corporations and government agencies as bottomless money pits. Judges sometimes cut back such awards.

Interesting that the driver was not named in the litigation.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 10:07 AM
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Given the injuries, chances are the driver (and the other driver) paid in their insurance policy limits long ago. Possibly before suit was filed.

That works out better for the products liability suit as you want to focus on the alleged defect and not what caused the accident. The jury could "led astray" towards blaming someone without the ability to pay a multi-million dollar verdict.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 10:19 PM
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Back in September, after a short time, I got in the third row center and worked on that odd ball seat belt. It took some time to finally have the "light bulb" in my head to come on to figure the thing out. I can see how the person made the error. Driver should have known better and advised.

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