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GOODFIELD v. VOLKSWAGEN

This case involved a Volkswagen Van that was involved in a solo vehicle accident and overturned. The plaintiff, a female hairdresser, was returning from a vacation in the Northern California area and went through a long, gradual curve. She claimed that she was struck “broadside” by a sudden and large gust of wind which caused her vehicle to swerve uncontrollably, go off of the highway and roll over in the road shoulder. She suffered head injuries and claimed to have sustained traumatic epilepsy as a result of the accident, in addition to severe orthopedic injuries to her shoulder and knee.

She contended that the van was defective in design, that the center of gravity was too high, that the track width was too narrow and the center of “pressure” was inappropriate, causing the van to be extremely susceptible to wind gusts, and therefore unstable.

The defense contended that the accident was caused by plaintiff’s inappropriate driving maneuvers, including driving on a rain-slicked highway with bald tires, which caused the van to slide into the road shoulder resulting in the roll over. The case took twenty (20) days to try and resulted in a defense verdict in the Central District of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Martin Kirwin was plaintiff’s counsel.